April 15, 2007

Oh yeah, things are just going swimmingly in Iraq, aren't they?

Independent UK:

The nationalist Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr has ordered his ministers to leave the Iraqi government because of its refusal to set a timetable for US troop withdrawal from Iraq.

A violent confrontation between America and the Sadrist movement, popular among the Shia majority, would mark a new stage in the four-year war in which the US has hitherto been fighting the minority Sunni community.

The departure of the six ministers will weaken the Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki, who relied on the support of their movement for a majority in parliament. The Sadrists accused Mr Maliki of "ignoring the will of the people" over the issue of a timed American withdrawal.

Muqtada al-Sadr has been hiding for two months but in recent weeks has demanded an end to the occupation. He has organised peaceful rallies attended by tens of thousands of demonstrators in Najaf at which Sadr supporters waved Iraqi flags and chanted their opposition to the continuing US presence.

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