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Thousands rally against U.S.-Iraqi security pact

Braaq

Braaq

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I think this should be our sign to leave :wutyousay:, peaceful demonstrations rather than violent means that the majority want us out now. It should be their decision so I hope the Iraqi government listens to its people and doesn't give into Bush and his agenda.

BAGHDAD (AP) — Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr on Saturday called on Iraq's parliament to reject a U.S.-Iraqi security pact as tens of thousands of his followers rallied in Baghdad against the deal.

The mass public show of opposition came as U.S. and Iraqi leaders face a Dec. 31 deadline to agree on the deal to replace an expiring U.N. mandate authorizing the U.S.-led forces in Iraq.

Al-Sadr's message was addressed to the crowd as well Iraqi lawmakers and read by his aide Sheik Abdul-Hadi al-Mohammadawi in Baghdad before a huge crowd of mostly young men waving Iraqi and green Shiite flags and chanting slogans including "no, no to the agreement" and "yes to Iraq."

"The Iraqi government has abandoned its duty before God and its people and referred the agreement to you knowing that ratifying it will stigmatize Iraq and its government for years to come," he said.

"I am with every Sunni, Shiite or Christian who is opposed to the agreement ... and I reject, condemn and renounce the presence of occupying forces and basis on our beloved land," the message added.

Al-Sadr, who is living in Iran, also cast doubt on the Iraqi government's argument that the security pact is a step toward ending the U.S. presence in Iraq. The deal would require U.S. forces to leave by Dec. 31, 2011 unless Iraq asked some of them to stay.

"If they tell you that the agreement ends the presence of the occupation, let me tell you that the occupier will retain its bases. And whoever tells you that it gives us sovereignty is a liar," al-Sadr's message said. "I am confident that you brothers in parliament will champion the will of the people over that of the occupier ... Do not betray the people."

The demonstrators marched from the main Shiite district of Sadr City to the more central Mustansiriyah Square in eastern Baghdad.

"No, No to America," shouted one man, wearing a white Islamic robe as he sat in a wheelchair and clutched a poster of the Iraqi flag. "We prefer death to giving concessions."

One banner in English said "We refuse the existence of the U.S. in Iraq."

Organizers insisted the turnout for the demonstrations exceeded 1 million, but Associated Press reporters and photographers at the scene said the crowd was in the tens of thousands. Police had no estimates of their own.

"This demonstration is our response to the agreement," said Nasser al-Saadi, one of 30 Sadrist lawmakers. "It is also meant to demand a popular referendum on the agreement."

Security was tight, with Iraqi security forces manning checkpoints on side streets and snipers on rooftops. Iraqi Humvees controlled all the roads leading to the square. Giant Iraqi flags covered nearby buildings. The three-hour gathering ended without trouble except for a brief incident when several young demonstrators pelted army troops manning a checkpoint with rocks.

There were no injuries and no arrests.

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's government and the Bush administration have hammered out a draft agreement after months of bitter negotiations.

But the Iraqi parliament must ratify the deal and Iraq's pre-eminent Shiite cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani has said any accord must have national consensus.

Al-Maliki, a Shiite, could be politically isolated if he tries to win parliament's backing in the face of widespread opposition.

Several Sunni and Shiite clerics, who wield considerable influence in shaping public opinion, also spoke out during Friday prayer services against the draft, complaining that the Iraqi public knows little about the terms.

A copy of the draft accord obtained by the AP specifies that U.S. troops must leave Iraqi cities by the end of June and be gone by 2012. It gives Iraq limited authority over off-duty, off-base U.S. soldiers who commit crimes.

U.S. Congressional approval is not required for the pact to take effect, but the administration is trying to build maximum political support anyway.

"This agreement poses a serious danger to the Iraqi people," said Nassar al-Rubaie, another Sadrist lawmaker. "It will replace Iraq's occupation with foreign protection."

Al-Sadr's loyalists quit al-Maliki's government last year in protest against the prime minister's failure to announce a timetable for the withdrawal of foreign troops from Iraq. They also quit the United Iraqi Alliance, the Shiite bloc in parliament.

They boycotted a meeting Friday night between al-Maliki and leaders of parliamentary blocs to discuss a draft of the agreement and plan to vote against it when it comes up for a vote in the 275-seat parliament.
 
Samoan-Z

Samoan-Z

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Truth. after the elections perhaps this will all change.
 
theweapon

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we'll see in 2 months ill know when i deploy either to iraq or afghan
 
Ironslave

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we'll see in 2 months ill know when i deploy either to iraq or afghan

Why would you being there change your mind? They want America out of their country, from this public demonstration, it should be obvious.

Good post Braaq.
 
theweapon

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Why would you being there change your mind? They want America out of their country, from this public demonstration, it should be obvious.

Good post Braaq.

it wont, i just made a statement that ill know in 2 months when im soposed to go to deploy, not that ill know whats going on over there, sorry if i didnt make it clear
 
Duality

Duality

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um everybody loves america occupying there country. duh, we're the good guys










:jerkoff1:
 
Ironslave

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it wont, i just made a statement that ill know in 2 months when im soposed to go to deploy, not that ill know whats going on over there, sorry if i didnt make it clear

ahh... understood.
 
Flex

Flex

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I saw this the other day.

Thanks for posting.
 
Braaq

Braaq

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Truth. after the elections perhaps this will all change.

Hopefully, if we really are there "for the people" and to stablize Iraq then we should leave because the people unified in their opposition to our occupation. We would like like "the bad guys" if we stayed anyways. If anything we should stay with minimal forces to support the Iraqi military only when needed and eventually stay out. Minimal forces is subjective and I don't want us to decide what those number should be. It should be up to the Iraqi government to make that decision, if they are truly a democratic nation then that should be up to the people.
 
TJ

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if they are truly a democratic nation then that should be up to the people.

Wow, this sounds so familiar. Democracy...leaving it up to the people....damn, nope, not ringin' any bells.
 

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