Iraqi Shia leaders publicly reject Bushs policy to occupy the country indefinitelyJune 14th, 2008 - 3:29 pm ICT by ANI
Washington, June 14 (ANI): Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has publicly rejected key US terms for an ongoing military presence and anti-American Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr called for a new militia offensive against American forces, which will be a major setback for President George W Bushs Iraq policy.
During a visit to Jordan, Maliki said negotiations over initial US proposals for bilateral political and military agreements had reached a dead end.
He said talks would continue, but his comments fuelled doubts that the pacts could be reached this year, before the December 31 expiration of a United Nations mandate sanctioning the US role in Iraq.
Maliki indicated that the proposed compromise on immunity for contractors was insufficient. We could not give amnesty to a soldier carrying arms on our ground,” he said.
Maliki also raised an issue that is of deep concern to Congress, saying that Baghdad expected a firm US commitment to protect Iraq from foreign aggression.
Although that promise was made in an outline of the strategic framework signed by Maliki and Bush in November, the administration has since assured US lawmakers that it is a “non binding” agreement that does not require congressional ratification.
In addition to ending the UN mandate, Maliki said, what we wish is . . . that if Iraq is subject to a foreign aggression it would be defended. And on the American side that was abandoned as well. So we reached a clear point of disagreement.
The moves by two of Iraqs most powerful Shiite leaders underscore how the presence of US troops has become a central issue for Iraqi politicians as they position themselves for provincial elections later this year.
Iraqis across the political spectrum have grown intolerant of the US presence, but the dominant Shiite parties — including Malikis Dawa party — are especially fearful of an electoral challenge from new, grass-roots groups, The Washington Post reported.
As the controversy over US troops grew in the region, Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari scheduled the first high-level Iraqi Government contacts with the two US presidential contenders.
Zebari will meet privately on Sunday with Republican John McCain and hold a telephone conference on Monday with Democrat Barack Obama.
Maliki’s comments came as Sadr called for a new-armed wing of his Mahdi Army militia to fight US troops. Sadr had ordered the militia to cease carrying weapons last August.
Sadr aides, some of whom appeared surprised by the clerics announcement, said he wanted to issue the order now to avoid seeming as if he was responding to a US-Iraqi agreement if one is reached by the July deadline. (ANI)
- Iraqi factions sign peace pact proposed by radical Shiite cleric - Dec 25, 2011
- Iraqis demand end to American occupation - Apr 10, 2011
- Thousands of Iraqis protest against foreign intervention - Sep 17, 2011
- Radical Islamic cleric al-Sadr urges Iraqis to 'resist occupier US with all means' - Jan 08, 2011
- Iran's Revolutionary Guard aided Iraqi militias during second Gulf War - Oct 23, 2010
- Iraqis stage demonstration after Gates 'US military to stay for years' remark - Apr 10, 2011
- Anti-U.S. cleric Muqtada al-Sadr returns to Iraq - Jan 06, 2011
- New Maliki govt with anti-US Shiite Islamic support could complicate Iraq-US relationship - Oct 02, 2010
- Tens of thousands protest in Baghdad to demand U.S. troops to leave - May 27, 2011
- Opposition leader agrees to join Maliki Government in Iraq - Dec 16, 2010
- Iraq warns of Syrian crisis' consequences - Jun 24, 2012
- Iran openly backs Iraqi PM Maliki for second term - Oct 19, 2010
- Iraqis protest security treaty with US - Nov 21, 2008
- Iraq doesnt see Obama abandoning it as still a great deal is at stake - Nov 06, 2008
- Iraqi parliament to debate security pact with US - Nov 17, 2008
Tags: aggression, al sadr, american forces, binding agreement, bushs iraq, congressional ratification, disagreement, grass roots groups, iraq policy, major setback, military presence, militia, new grass, nouri al maliki, pacts, political spectrum, prime minister nouri al maliki, provincial elections, shiite cleric, us role in iraq