Nouri al-Maliki is more than influenced by the Shiite clerics in Iran who have done so much for the troubled Iraqi prime minister. Maliki just schlepped over the border for a powwow with Iranian bigwigs. Tehran’s spokesman said the PM was in town to exchange views, but for all we know he just needed a hug. (continued)
Tens of thousands of Iraqis, with remote guidance from Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, joined in a demonstration in Baghdad on Saturday to implore the Iraqi parliament to reject a security pact with the U.S. before the year’s end.
The militia leader’s threat of an “open war” between his supporters and the U.S.-backed Iraqi government has ratcheted up tensions in Basra and Baghdad. [In this analysis, columnist Patrick Cockburn of The Independent looks into the current situation in light of Sadr’s history with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.]
Muslim cleric Moqtada al-Sadr issued a strong warning to the Iraqi government Saturday, claiming that he and his supporters will “declare a war until liberation” if a crackdown against his Mahdi Army continues.
At the close of a particularly bloody week in and around Baghdad, Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr railed against the U.S. on Friday, urging Iraqis to join in a protest against American “occupation, destruction and terrorism.” The date set for the protest is April 9, four years after the fall of Baghdad.