BBC News is claiming the Iraq government are calling for coalition forces to stand down, but that the US insist otherwise:
""I call for multinational forces to leave Najaf and for only Iraqi forces to remain there," [Ibrahim Jaafari] said in remarks broadcast by [now defunct?] Arabic TV channel al-Jazeera.
... But the US military - whose intervention was requested by the Najaf governor last week - has said it plans to press on with its offensive in the city. "
Left hand? RIght hand? Power political vs power military?
Meanwhile, there's a decent analysis of the political side of the battle at Time.com:
"By inviting the U.S. military to invade the spiritual epicenter of Iraqi Shiism, the new government risks fatally undermining its prospects for establishing legitimacy among Iraq's majority community. Even though the Sadrists have provoked the confrontation, the prevailing animosity towards the U.S. forces among ordinary Shiites will likely play to Moqtada's advantage in his political challenge to the Allawi government."