Iraqi Leader to U.S.: Stop Meddling
Jaafari rebuffs Bush’s alleged call for him to step down, telling Washington to stop interfering in Iraq’s politics.
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BAGHDAD, Iraq, March 29 — Facing growing pressure from the Bush administration to step down, Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari of Iraq vigorously asserted his right to stay in office on Wednesday and warned the Americans against interfering in the country’s political process.
Mr. Jaafari also defended his recent political alliance with the radical Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr, now the prime minister’s most powerful backer, saying in an interview that Mr. Sadr and his militia, now thousands strong, are a fact of life in Iraq and need to be accepted into mainstream politics.
Mr. Jaafari said he would work to fold the country’s myriad militias into the official security forces and ensure that recruits and top security ministers abandoned their ethnic or sectarian loyalties.
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