09 April 2007

Iraqi Shi'ites protest occupation

Several hundred thousand Iraqi Shi'ites (a large number in a country of 27 million) have marched in the Shi'ite holy city of Najaf to protest against the continued occupation of Iraq by US-led forces. The protest was called by the cleric Muqtada al-Sadr to mark the fourth anniversary of the capture of Baghdad by the Americans. In a message to Iraqis, Sadr (who is believed to be hiding in Iran) described American forces as "your arch enemy".

Meanwhile, in a visit to Japan, the Iraqi Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki, "Iraq has escaped the constraints of the past.... The country is one and the people are one" (BBC).

Now if only that were true.

As for Sadr, one wonders whether he would quickly try to seize power for himself if the Americans were to withdraw in the near future.

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