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Sadr-ists reject US-Iraqi Security Pact...

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  • Sadr-ists reject US-Iraqi Security Pact...

    Sadrists reject U.S.-Iraq security pact

    By Sameer N. Yacoub - The Associated Press
    Posted : Friday Nov 7, 2008 11:37:11 EST

    BAGHDAD — Clerics tied to the anti-U.S. Shiite leader Muqtada al-Sadr stepped up calls on Friday for the government to reject a U.S.-Iraqi security pact, a day after Washington delivered what it called a final text of the agreement to the Iraqis.
    U.S. and Iraqi officials are scrambling to finalize the security agreement that would remove U.S. soldiers from Iraq’s cities by June 30, and see the last American troops leave the country by 2012.
    The Sadrists staunchly oppose the pact and want U.S. forces to leave Iraq immediately and unconditionally.
    “We renew our total refusal of the security agreement, and again we demand parliament and government not to sign it,” Sheik Assad al-Nasiri told worshippers in the holy city of Kufa.
    In Baghdad’s sprawling Shiite slum of Sadr City, another Sadrist preacher, Sheik Sattar al-Battat, warned the deal infringes on Iraqi sovereignty, and would allow the U.S. to threaten other countries in the region.
    “Each Iraqi should refuse the security agreement, especially what it includes on the immunity the American soldier enjoys in spite of all he has committed against Iraqis, and the use of bases to launch attacks against our neighbors, particularly Syria,” al-Battat said.
    Last month, the Iraqi Cabinet proposed amendments to the pact that included a demand for expanded Iraqi legal authority over U.S. soldiers and the removal of language that could allow U.S. forces to stay past 2012.
    Iraq also sought an explicit ban on the use of Iraqi soil for attacks against the country’s neighbors, like last month’s U.S. raid on Syria.
    On Thursday, Washington sent its response to the proposals and said the next move belongs to Baghdad.
    U.S. and Iraqi officials would not release details of Washington’s response, but a senior Iraqi official familiar with the negotiations said the U.S. accepted some and rejected others, presumably the demand for expanded legal control over U.S. soldiers and Defense Department contractors.
    Al-Maliki’s Cabinet was expected to meet to discuss the U.S. response in a few days.
    The pact must be ratified by the 275-member parliament, and many lawmakers publicly opposed the original draft text. It remains unclear what sort of support the revised agreement might receive.
    U.S. troops currently operate in Iraq under a U.N. mandate that expires at the end of the year. Without the security deal or a new U.N. mandate, the Americans would have to suspend all operations in the country.
    Meanwhile, the self-styled leader of an Iraqi al-Qaida front group called on President-elect Barack Obama and other Western leaders to withdraw from Iraq and Afghanistan.
    In a speech posted on the Internet, the purported leader of the Islamic State of Iraq, Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, made the call “on behalf of my brothers in Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, and Chechnya,” saying it’s better “for you and us” to “withdraw your forces” and “return to your homes.”
    It was reported Friday by the SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors extremist Web sites.
    The U.S. military says al-Baghdadi is an actor who provides a voice for al-Qaida propaganda.
    Also Friday, four people were killed and three policemen were injured in twin blasts the Sunni neighborhood of Jamiaa, police said.
    The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release the information to the media.

    ...And shephards we shall be. For thee my lord, for thee. Power hath descended forth from thy hand. That our feet may swiftly carry out thy command. So we shall flow a river forth to thee. And teeming with souls shall it ever be. E Nomini Patri, E Fili, E Spiritu Sancti.

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