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Al-Sadr: Baghdad Security Plan Is Doomed
by reposted
Sunday Feb 25th, 2007 12:16 PM
(AP) The leader of Iraq's biggest Shiite militia complained Sunday that bombs "continue to explode" in Baghdad and that U.S.-led security crackdown is doomed to fail, issuing a statement the same day a suicide attacker struck outside a college campus, killing at least 41 people.
Many Shiites believe that bombings have continued because the Shiite-led government bowed to American pressure and persuaded the radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr to take his Mahdi Army fighters off the streets.

Al-Sadr's statement, read to his followers in Sadr City, is likely to add pressure on U.S. and Iraqi forces to show results in the nearly two-week-old crackdown.

"I'm certain, just like all oppressed Iraqis are certain, that no security plan will work and no good will come of any occupier," al-Sadr said in the statement. "Here we are, watching booby trapped cars exploding to harvest thousands of innocent lives from our beloved people in the middle of a security plan that is controlled by an occupier who does as he pleases."

U.S. and Iraqi leaders have urged the public to be patient, warning that it will take months before the security operation shows results. President Bush has ordered 21,500 more U.S. troops to Baghdad and surrounding areas, although the last units are not due until May.

Al-Sadr urged Iraq's mostly Shiite security forces to "make your own Iraqi plans independent of the Americans."

by reposted
Sunday Feb 25th, 2007 12:16 PM
BAGHDAD, Feb 25 (Reuters) - Radical Iraqi Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr withdrew his support for a security crackdown in Baghdad on Sunday, hours after a female suicide bomber wearing a vest packed with explosives killed 40 in a student college.

Police earlier said the bomber at the Baghdad Economy and Administration College was a man. But they later said it was a women, who blew herself up in the lobby of the college after she was stopped by guards.

The move by Sadr, an anti-American cleric, is a blow for Shi'ite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, who on Saturday had expressed optimism about the U.S.-backed offensive.

Until now, Sadr has supported the plan, seen as a last ditch attempt to halt all-out civil war in Iraq. He said it would not work because U.S. forces were involved.

"There is no benefit in this security plan because it is controlled by the occupiers," said an aide to Sadr, reading a statement from the cleric in front of thousands of chanting supporters in the firebrand's stronghold of Sadr City.

"(The United States) is watching car bombs explode, taking the souls of thousands of innocent Iraqi people."