Skip to comments.Al-Sadr loyalists boycott Iraq government
Posted on 11/29/2006 6:57:15 AM PST by TexKat
BAGHDAD, Iraq - Lawmakers and cabinet ministers loyal to anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr have suspended participation in parliament and the government to protest Prime minister Nouri al-Maliki's summit with U.S. President George W. Bush.
A statement issued Wednesday by the 30 lawmakers and five Cabinet ministers said their action was necessary because the meeting constituted a "provocation to the feelings of the Iraqi people and a violation of their constitutional rights." The statement did not explain that claim.
Al-Maliki and Bush are meeting in Amman, the Jordanian capital, Wednesday and Thursday looking for ways to end the violence in Iraq.
Meanwhile, fierce fighting on Wednesday between coalition forces and insurgents shut down the city of Baqouba, which has been roiled by violence in recent days, killing scores of militants and civilians.
Suspected insurgents attacked the police headquarters in downtown Baqouba, sparking a clash with police that left five of the attackers dead, police said on condition of anonymity, as they regularly do to protect themselves.
Coalition forces backed by U.S. aircraft also killed eight al-Qaida in Iraq insurgents during a raid near the city that also left two Iraqi women dead, the U.S. military said.
The early morning attack was aimed at detaining Iraqis who were running a known cell of insurgents, the U.S. command said. The soldiers called in air support after coming under heavy fire from rifles and machine guns, the command said.
Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki arrived Wednesday in Jordan, meanwhile, for a meeting with President Bush aimed at halting escalating sectarian violence and paving the way for a reduction of U.S. troops.
In Baqouba, capital of Diyala province about 35 miles northeast of Baghdad, the university, public schools and many stores remained closed, and the city's streets were mostly empty, except for a few people who dashed out to small fruit or vegetable stalls to stock up on food.
In a city with a crumbling infrastructure, few residents had electricity and most only received limited water supplies. Many Shiites and Sunnis have fled neighborhoods where they live in a minority, seeking refuge with relatives in nearby provinces or, if they have the money, in neighboring Jordan and Syria.
Widespread fighting has raged in the area for several days. On Tuesday, Diyala police said they found 11 bullet-riddled bodies around Baqouba.
Gunfire crackled for most of the morning around Baghdad's Green Zone, the site of U.S. and Iraqi government offices. A roadside bomb exploded Wednesday morning near a police patrol in a commercial center of the capital, killing three civilians and wounding 11 Iraqis, including two policeman and three children, said police Lt. Bilal Ali Majid.
In all, 13 insurgents, six policemen, and six civilians had been killed in fighting across Iraq by mid-afternoon, police and U.S. officials said. The mangled bodies of six civilians who had been kidnapped and tortured also were found, police said.
The U.S. military announced the deaths of two more American soldiers.
A U.S. Army soldier died Wednesday from wounds suffered in fighting in Anbar province, the large region of desert and isolated towns west of Baghdad, the command said. A roadside bomb the day before killed another Army soldier and wounded another in Salahuddin province.
That raised to at least 2,883 the number of U.S. service members who have died since the Iraq war began in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count.
In other fighting Wednesday, insurgents killed four policemen and wounded four others in a carefully coordinated attack on a police station in Samarra northwest of Baghdad, using a suicide car bomb and militants armed with guns and rocket-propelled grenades, said police Capt. Laith Mohammed.
In another town in Salahuddin province, suspected insurgents attacked a police checkpoint, killing two policemen and wounding two others, Mohammed said.
In Baghdad, gunfire could be heard for much of the morning near the Green Zone, the heavily fortified area on the Tigris River where Iraq's parliament, U.S. soldiers and American and British embassies are based.
Two mortar rounds also exploded near the Health Ministry, wounding two civilians, said police Lt. Ali Muhsin. Guards at the building opened fire randomly after the attack, he said On Tuesday, U.S. soldiers fought with suspected insurgents in Ramadi, the capital of violence-torn Anbar province to the west of Baghdad, killing six Iraqis: one man and five females, including the infant.
That fighting began after a coalition patrol discovered a roadside bomb in the Hamaniyah section of Ramadi and saw two Iraqi men flee to a house where they took up position on the roof, the military said. U.S. soldiers attacked the building and found the six bodies inside after the fight, the military said.
It accused the militants of risking the lives of civilians by using the building as a safe house for insurgents.
In New York on Tuesday, U.N. Security Council voted unanimously to extend for one year the mandate of the 160,000-strong multinational force in Iraq.
The Security Council responded to a request from al-Maliki, who said a top government priority is to assume full responsibility for security and stability throughout Iraq but that it needs more time.
Al-Sadr loyalists boycott Iraq government ping
Apparently the one hand tied behind your back approach
is becoming less effective, could one of you Bots call
DoD and let them know about breaking eggs to get an omlette.
Works for me. Maybe now the Iraqi government can get something done.
About al Sadr.
Ending al Sadr would be a big step in that direction.
Our big mistake was in not killing Al Sadr when we had the chance in the battle of NAJAF ( and Fallujah ).
We spared him and he has given us and Iraq grief ever since.
I wonder why Saddam is still alive after his sentence. HANG HIM NOW AND GET ONE PROBLEM OUT OF THE WAY.
And oh yeah, while we're at it, bomb the hell outa the rest of these trouble makers and to hell with CNN and the UN.
What the heck is this supposed to mean? The U.N. Security Council had a mandate in place for a 160,000-strong multinational force that it never authorized in the first place?!
You are catching on. The media told you that the UN did not "authorize" the forces. Fact of the matter is, the UN mandated the forces, AND the troop levels. Those that blame the President regarding troop levels are indeed misguided. The UN and NATO are calling more of the shots than the cheerleaders want to admit. But if one points this out, they are castigated as a terrorist sympathizer and a cut-n-runner for not blindly supporting Shiite Hezbullah via Maliki and Mookie.
Maliki loses Shi'ite ally before Bush talks
Wed Nov 29, 2006 10:15am ET
AMMAN (Reuters) - Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki flew to Jordan for crisis talks with President Bush on Wednesday, prompting a radical Shi'ite faction to suspend participation in his government in anger.
Iranian-backed cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, who leads the Mehdi Army militia, was making good on a threat to boycott parliament and Maliki's coalition if the premier met the U.S. president.
Maliki is politically dependent on Sadr's faction, which helped elect him to his post. The group denounced his visit to Jordan as "a provocation to the Iraqi people".
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Maliki's trip was already clouded by a leaked White House memo questioning his ability to rescue Iraq from bloody turmoil that claims scores of lives daily, including over 200 killed in a bomb and mortar attack on Sadr's Baghdad stronghold last week.
Bush himself is under growing pressure to find a new policy to prevent Iraq dissolving in a maelstrom of sectarian strife and to secure an honorable exit for 140,000 U.S. troops.
Before his talks with Maliki, Bush blamed al Qaeda for the violence and vowed not to pull troops out "before the mission is complete". He denied Iraq had already plunged into civil war.
U.S. misgivings about Maliki's leadership surfaced in a sometimes scathing memo written by national security adviser Stephen Hadley and published by the New York Times.
Hadley told Bush in the November 8 document that Maliki needed political help and a possible shake-up of his seven-month-old national unity government of hostile factions
It describes the Iraqi leader as a man who "wanted to be strong but was having difficulty figuring out how to do so" and questions whether he shares Washington's vision for Iraq.
"If so, is he able to curb those who seek Shi'ite hegemony or the reassertion of Sunni power?" the memo asks.
The White House said on Wednesday it had confidence in Maliki and wanted to strengthen his position.
Maliki flew into Amman, safe from Baghdad's rampant insecurity, several hours before Bush was due to reach the Jordanian capital from a NATO summit in Latvia.
Editors Choice: Best pictures
from the last 24 hours.
Both men said they would discuss transferring more control to Iraqi security forces and the role other countries in the region could play to stem bloodshed and chaos in Iraq.
COLD SHOULDER TO IRAN
Bush has rejected direct U.S. talks with Iran over helping to stabilize Iraq, saying Tehran must first stop nuclear fuel enrichment. But he said it was up to Baghdad to decide on its relations with neighboring Iran and Syria, both U.S. foes.
Maliki held preliminary talks with Jordan's King Abdullah, who, like other Sunni Arab leaders, fears rising Iranian influence in Iraq and the region, especially after the Lebanon war between Israel and Iranian-backed Hezbollah guerrillas.
The king told the BBC earlier that Iraqi leaders must prevent Iraq being destroyed "in a whirlpool of violence".
In another sign of regional worry, a security adviser to the Saudi government predicted that Riyadh would use money, weapons or its oil power to prevent Shi'ite militias from "massacring Sunnis" once the United States began pulling out of Iraq.
"To be sure, Saudi engagement in Iraq carries great risks -- it could spark a regional war. So be it: the consequences of inaction are far worse," Nawaf Obaid wrote in the Washington Post. He said the opinions were his own, not the government's.
Bush and Maliki were due to meet for a dinner hosted by King Abdullah and for a working breakfast on Thursday.
The meetings were expected to be a give-and-take on how to improve the situation, and "not the president dictating terms," a U.S. official said. A bold announcement was not expected.
Editors Choice: Best pictures
from the last 24 hours.
Bush's visit was unpopular with some Jordanians.
"This is a very sad day. Bush has become a symbol of bigotry and injustice toward Arabs and Muslims," said Mustafa Nimr, a 32-year-old engineer. "There he is slaughtering my brothers in Palestine and Iraq and is now hosted and feted by our leaders."
Bush, under pressure to change course in Iraq after his Republican party lost control of Congress in November elections, is to receive recommendations next month from a bipartisan panel headed by former secretary of state James Baker.
Hadley's memo said Maliki receives "undoubtedly skewed" information from advisers in his Shi'ite Dawa Party.
He seems well-intentioned, "but the reality on the streets of Baghdad suggests Maliki is either ignorant of what is going on, misrepresenting his intentions or that his capabilities are not yet sufficient to turn his good intentions into actions".
(Additional reporting by Suleiman al-Khalidi in Amman, Alastair Macdonald and Aseel Kami in Baghdad, Tabassum Zakaria and Caren Bohan in Riga)
A group of loyalists to Muqtada al-Sadr listen to Salih al-Igeili, center, as he delivers their message following their meeting in Sadr City district of Baghdad, Iraq, Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2006. Lawmakers and Cabinet ministers loyal to anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr have suspended participation in parliament and the government to protest Prime minister Nouri al-Maliki's summit with U.S. President George W. Bush. Poster in the background shows Mohammed Sadiq al-Sadr, Muqtada's late father. (AP Photo/Karim Kadim)
Talking with the Iranians about this will help. Maybe we can just give the Shiites the government. Then al Sadr will come back.
I say take this guy out now
Uh-oh. This will probably mean that Sadr's group will start carrying out extrajudicial murders and causing violence all over Baghdad... ;')
Why is this scumbag still running around free? If we were serious about winning this war he would be gone, one way or the other.
Good, let them go. Maybe now al-Maliki will work with us instead of against us.
I notice that they have al-Sadr's father prominently displayed in the above picture. What the story didn't tell you was that he was killed by Saddam Hussein, back around 1999. It makes his son a real ingrate, yes?
Bingo. The troubles he's been is nothing compared to the trouble HE WILL BECOME. This is a man who hates justice and liberty and can'r wait to get in the driver's seat.
This is what you get by letting politicans run wars!!!!!!!!
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