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Al-Sadr Urges Followers To Oppose “Occupiers”

From his fans at Reuters:


Shi’ite worshippers chant slogans during a demonstration after Friday prayers in Baghdad’s Sadr City March 16, 2007.

Iraq cleric slams occupiers, Shi’ite mayor shot

By Claudia Parsons

Radical Iraqi Shi’ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr urged his followers on Friday to oppose occupying troops, raising the pressure on U.S.-backed Iraqi forces conducting a security crackdown in Baghdad.

In a possible setback for the crackdown, the mayor of Sadr City, a Shi’ite militia stronghold in the capital, was wounded when gunmen opened fire on his car on Thursday.

Sheikh Raheem al-Darruji has been a key figure in facilitating recent joint operations in Sadr City, long a no-go area for U.S. forces and a bastion of the Mehdi Army, a militia loyal to the fiercely anti-American Sadr.

A statement from Sadr that was read out at prayers in Sadr City on Friday repeated his longheld opposition to the presence of U.S. forces in Iraq, and appeared to respond to recent statements by U.S. military officials who have said people in Sadr City were cooperating with them.

I’m confident that you consider them (U.S. forces) your enemies,” said the statement carrying Sadr’s seal which was issued by his office in the holy city of Najaf as well as being read out to thousands of worshippers in Sadr City.

I call upon you all to raise your voices all together and shout with one voice ‘No, No, America’,” the statement said.

Sadr City was viewed as a test of the Shi’ite-led Iraqi government’s will to deal as firmly with Shi’ite militias as it does with Sunni Arab insurgents. U.S. commanders say they have met little resistance since launching operations 10 days ago.

Sadr’s statement denounced U.S. forces as occupiers but did not mention Iraqi security forces. Sadr’s political movement has expressed its support for the Baghdad plan as long as operations are conducted by Iraqi forces.

A Mehdi Army official said thousands of people demonstrated after prayers on Friday to reject the establishment of a joint U.S.-Iraqi security station in Sadr City. Television pictures showed at least hundreds of people… 

It is a mystery for the ages that Mr. al-Sadr is still alive.

He is almost as destructive to our efforts in Iraq as the Democrat party.

This article was posted by Steve on Friday, March 16th, 2007. Comments are currently closed.

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