From Missing Links
".......Speaking of Sistani, the evidence so far is that there isn't any basis at all for thinking that the Najaf authorities were responding to domestic pressure and trying to distance themselves from the oppressive policies represented by the Sadr City campaign. On the contrary, they seem to have made no meaningful effort to have any part of the AP story reflected in Iraqi news accounts. On the Sistani.org official website, the only reference to the meeting is a few lines from the AFP story, which merely quoted Maliki on the theme of Sistani's "support for the government in general". And Aswat al Iraq, which would be the natural place to launch something into the Iraqi media, dismisses the whole dustup this way:
A source close to [Sistani] denied reports circulated by global [meaning foreign] news agencies about Sistani having issued a fatwa permitting the use of arms to oust the foreign forces from Iraq, stressing that [Sistani] has been calling for peaceful resistance since the fall of the prior regime.
The "not at the present time" phrase, so far, seems to have occurred only in a couple of lines at the end of a story in AlSharq al-Awsat this morning; and on the obscure website I cited yesterday. (By contrast, the big proponent of refurbishing his image, and holding out the prospect of an eventual turn against the foreign forces by Najaf (and by Maliki and Hakim too!) was none other than Juan Cole himself. Whether refurbishment of the Najaf/Maliki image in America via Cole was in any way behind the whole AP kerfuffle or not, of course one cannot say. But the fact it didn't have that effect at all in Iraq does make one wonder...)"