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Oct 17th, 2008

Al-Maliki: U.S. General ‘Complicated Relations’

Iraqi prime minister says Odierno went too far in alleging Iranian bribes

Image: Odierno and Iraqi president
Gen. Raymond Odierno, meeting with Iraqi President Jalal Talabani in October 2008, has said reports indicate Iran is trying to bribe Iraqi lawmakers. (Photo credit: Shwan Mohammed / AFP — Getty Images)

October 17, 2008

BAGHDAD — Iraq’s prime minister said in remarks aired Friday that the top U.S. commander in Iraq “risked his position” by alleging Iran was trying to bribe lawmakers to vote against the proposed security agreement with the United States.

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki briefed top political leaders Friday about the draft agreement, which includes a timeline for U.S. withdrawal from Iraq by the end of 2011 and a compromise giving Iraq authority to try U.S. contractors and soldiers for major crimes committed off-duty and off-base. …

In an interview published Monday in the Washington Post, Gen. Ray Odierno, who took command of the U.S.-led coalition last month, said U.S. intelligence reports indicated Iran has tried to bribe Iraqi lawmakers to derail the agreement, which must be approved by parliament before the U.N. mandate expires at the end of the year.

“The American commander has risked his position when he spoke in this tone and has regrettably complicated relations,” al-Maliki told visiting Kuwaiti journalists Thursday. “How can he speak like this about a baseless allegation? What has been said is truly regrettable.”

Odierno and U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker met Talabani on Friday and [Nasser] al-Ani, the presidential spokesman, said he understood that Odierno has offered an apology. …

Unusually sharp tone

The unusually sharp tone of al-Maliki’s remarks, aired Friday on Iraqi television, underlined the political sensitivities of both the draft agreement and Iraq’s relations with Iran, which opposes the deal.

Many Shiite politicians lived in exile in Iran when Saddam Hussein was in power, returning home after the 2003 ouster of his Sunni-led regime. They include many of the lawmakers al-Maliki needs to ratify the agreement. …

“The agreement that is supposed to be signed between Iraq and the U.S. is more dangerous than the occupation,” Sheik Abdul-Sattar Abdul-Jabar told the congregation in Baghdad’s Abu Hanifa mosque, the most prestigious Sunni shrine in the capital.

“It is illegal and the government should not sign it,” Abdul-Jabar said. “The government should get the approval of the Iraqi people through a popular referendum.” …

Opponents plan mass rally

The political movement loyal to anti-U.S. Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, which also holds 30 parliament seats, has come out strongly against the agreement and plans to hold a mass rally Saturday in the capital’s Sadr City district to reinforce that message.

During a sermon Friday in Najaf, al-Sadr aide Sheik Assad al-Nasseri said the demonstration would demand “the occupier leave Iraq unconditionally.” …

Full story


10/18/08 Update

Thousands of Iraqis Protest U.S. Security Pact

Image: Protesters with Muqtada al-Sadr poster
Two protesters place a poster featuring Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr on a huge Iraqi flag during a Baghdad rally against a draft U.S.-Iraqi security agreement on Saturday, Oct. 18, 2008. (Photo: Hadi Mizban / AP)

October 18, 2008

BAGHDAD — 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. …

Al-Sadr’s message was addressed to Iraqi lawmakers and read by his aide Sheik Abdul-Hadi al-Mohammadawi 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.”

“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 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.” …

“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.” …

Iraqis displaying a poster of radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr burn U.S. flags during an anti-U.S. protest in the Shiite enclave of Sadr City in Baghdad, Iraq, Friday, Oct. 10, 2008. (Photo credit: Adil Al-Khazali / AP)

Full story


Security Developments in Iraq

Following are security developments in Iraq on Friday, Oct. 17, 2008, as reported by Reuters.

MOSUL – A roadside bomb killed one civilian and wounded another in northern Mosul, 240 miles north of Baghdad, police said.

NEAR FALLUJA – Three policemen were wounded by a roadside bomb targeting their patrol in the village of Saqlawiya near Fallujah, west of Baghdad, police said.

MOSUL – A roadside bomb killed an Iraqi soldier and wounded four others when it struck their vehicle in eastern Mosul, police said.

MOSUL – A roadside bomb wounded two policemen and three civilians when it hit a police patrol in northern Mosul, police said.

BAGHDAD – A roadside bomb killed one civilian and wounded four others in the northeastern Baghdad neighborhood of al- Shaab, police said.

KUT – Iraqi police found the body of a pregnant woman in the east of Kut, 95 miles southeast of Baghdad, police said. The body bore gunshot wounds.

BAGHDAD – The U.S. military said it killed two suspected members of ‘special groups,’ its term for Shi’ite militants it believes are backed by Iran, on Thursday in eastern Baghdad.

BAGHDAD – Iraqi forces captured 10 suspected militants in separate operations throughout central Iraq from Oct. 13 to Oct. 15, the U.S. military said in a statement.

KUT – Gunmen shot a tribal leader on Thursday afternoon in Kut, southeast of Baghdad, police said. The tribal leader was taken to the hospital.

3 Responses to “Iraq Slams Top U.S. General”
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