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Al-Sadr condemns Iraq security plan
by Al Jazeera (reposted)
Saturday Oct 18th, 2008 9:12 AM
Saturday, October 18, 2008 : Baghdad rally demanding US withdrawal draws thousands of supporters of Shia leader.

Supporters of al-Sadr turned out in force for Friday's rally in Baghdad against a deal with US [EPA]

Supporters of Muqtada al-Sadr, a populist Shia leader, have gathered in the Iraqi capital, to demand the immediate withdrawal of US troops and to condemn a planned US-Iraq security deal.

The march began in Sadr City, a poor suburb of Baghdad, on Saturday and was planned to end in nearby Mustansiriya Square.

The protest was originally to be held on April 9, the anniversary of the fall of Saddam Hussein's government, but was postponed due to violent clashes between al-Sadr's al-Mahdi Army fighters and US and Iraqi forces.

"No, No, to America! No, No to the devil!"shouted crowds of men, women and children as they walked through the streets of Sadr City towards Mustansiriya Square, a distance of about three kilometres.

A message from al-Sadr, reported to be in Iran, was read out at the protest by Sheikh Abdul-Hadi al-Mohammadawi, his aide, calling on the Iraqi parliament to reject a US-Iraqi security pact that would extend the presence of American forces in Iraq.

Community resistance

Abdulhay Yahya Zalloum, an Iraqi analyst and author, told Al Jazeera the pact is facing resistance from most communities in Iraq.

"It is not only al-Sadr that is opposed to this so-called security pact ... the Christian community, at least a big chunk of it, as well as most of the Sunni community oppose it too.

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§U.S. Troops In Iraq: Getting More Agreement
by NPR (reposted) Saturday Oct 18th, 2008 9:13 AM
Saturday, October 18, 2008 : American and Iraqi negotiators have reached a tentative agreement governing the use of American forces in Iraq over the next three years. Reaching the agreement took months of tense negotiations and now both governments have to sell the deal to their lawmakers and to their public — which may not be an easy task.

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