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Iraq's Sadr demands U.S. forces pull out

English.news.cn   2011-08-09 22:47:13 FeedbackPrintRSS

BAGHDAD, Aug. 9 (Xinhua) -- Iraqi radical Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr Tuesday called on U.S. troops to pull out from Iraq, blaming the Americans for the chaos and sectarian strife that engulfed the country after 2003.

"Go forth from our holy land and go back to your families who are waiting for your arrival impatiently, so that you and we, as well, lead a peaceful life together," Sadr said in a message addressed to the U.S. troops in Iraq, which was posted on his website in Arabic and English languages.

"Enough of this occupation, terror and abuse. We are not in need of your help. We are able to combat and defeat terrorism and achieve unity," Sadr said.

The Iraqi people have only witnessed poverty, fear, human rights abuses, poor security conditions, terror and sectarian militia which the Americans themselves have invented," Sadr said.

Sadr repeatedly confirmed his stance earlier to oppose the presence of U.S. troops in Iraq after the Dec. 31 deadline for withdrawal, even as trainers for the Iraqi security forces.

"Anyone who stays in Iraq from America will be treated as oppressive occupier that should be resisted through military means, " Sadr said in a statement two days ago.

Sadr's latest remarks came as the Iraqi political leaders agreed in a meeting a week ago to give green light to Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki to start talks with the United States about allowing some U.S. troops to stay in Iraq beyond the deadline of the end of 2011 only for training the Iraqi security forces.

On Monday, a parliamentary Sunni Arab bloc also rejected any U. S. troops to train Iraqi forces after the deadline and warned of possibility of "armed resistance" by the Iraqi people.

Hamid al-Mutlak, a leading figure in the Iraqi National Dialogue Front, headed by Deputy Prime Minister Salih al-Mutlak, told reporters at a news conference in Baghdad that "the front rejects any presence for American trainers in Iraq."

"The Iraqi people may resort to armed resistance if the occupation forces stay in Iraq," said Mutlak, who is also a brother of the leader of the front.

The Iraqi National Dialogue Front is part of the cross- sectarian parliamentary bloc of Iraqia, which is headed by the veteran politician Ayad Allawi and won the country's March 7 parliamentary elections in 2010.

U.S. military forces are scheduled to pull out completely from Iraq by the end of 2011 according to security pact named Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) and signed in late 2008 between Baghdad and Washington.

Maliki frequently said the SOFA cannot be renewed as stated in the agreement, but talks with the Americans are expected to let a small force of the U.S. troops to stay in Iraq beyond the deadline only for training Iraqi forces under the Strategic Framework Agreement, which was signed earlier with the SOFA between the two countries.

Editor: yan
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