Iraqis March in Baghdad to Protest Security Pact

Followers of the anti-American cleric Moktada al-Sadr took to the streets on Saturday in a demonstration against the proposed security agreement between the American and Iraqi government being reviewed by Iraqi political leaders.

In a message to the assembled marchers, one of Mr. Sadr’s senior clerics read a statement from him warning that “whoever tells you that this pact gives us sovereignty is lying,” according to news services.

A leading Sadrist cleric at the rally, Hazim al-Arraji, said before its start: “This is the voice of the Iraqi people from all over Iraq: we need the invaders to leave our country, no one wants them to stay. ‘No invasion Get out invaders’ That will be our slogan.”

Mr. Sadr, a Shiite cleric whose Mahdi Army militia conducted two major uprisings against the American occupation, has consistently called for an immediate American withdrawal and has opposed negotiations that cede any authority to the Americans.

But there were signs on Saturday that Iraqi unease with the security negotiations extends beyond Mr. Sadr’s faction. Quietly, some parliamentary leaders suggested that they, too, were not comfortable with the agreement even though some of them had been involved in negotiating it.

via NYTIraqis March in Baghdad to Protest Security Pact

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