Muqtada al-Sadr – End the Occupation

From Informed Comment

According to Sawt al-Iraq writing in Arabic, young Shiite nationalist cleric Muqtada al-Sadr had a sermon read out in his name in Kufa and Baghdad mosques on Friday in which he called for massive anti-US demonstrations in Najaf on April 9, the anniversary of the fall of Baghdad to US forces in 2003. That Muqtada chose this date is deliberately ironic, since pro-American Iraqi expatriate politicians have argued for making that date a sort of Iraqi Independence Day. There had earlier been a debate over whether it was appropriate to honor a day that witnessed a Western military incursion into the country.

Shaikh Abd al-Hadi al-Muhammadawi read out the sermon in the Kufa Friday Prayers Mosque. Muqtada demanded that US troops leave the country “even if the American Congress were to decide they should stay in Iraq.” He insisted, “The issue of whether US troops should remain in Iraq depends on the Iraqi people, and no one has a right to extend their stay or to demand that they remain.”

He added, “The departure of American forces from Iraq at the present time will bestow security on Iraq, represent a victory for peace, and mete out defeat to terrorism.” He called on the Iraqi people “to fly the Iraqi flag above their homes and buildings and government offices to signify Iraqi sovereignty and independence.”

He also pressed on all sections of the population “the necessity of letting the entire world hear that Iraqis reject the occupation.”

He criticized “what has befallen Iraq during the Occupation, including tyranny, despotism, and the shedding of the blood of innocents.” He complained about the lack of health and city services.”

He added, “The Occupiers did not content themselves with all this, but also isolated Iraq from the Arab and Islamic worlds” and he accused the US, saying “they have proved able to sow the seeds of sectarian and ethnic conflict among Arabs and others, including between Arabs and non-Arabs among Muslims and others.” He called on the people of Iraq to aid Iraq and to stand with it. An English language AP report on the speech is here.

Read it here.

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