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Iraq debate on US pact disrupted
Wednesday, November 19, 2008 : Parliamentary speaker adjourns discussion of agreement on US troop withdrawal.
Legislators loyal to Muqtada al-Sadr, the Iraqi Shia leader, have shouted down a parliamentary debate over a security pact that would keep US troops in Iraq for three more years.
The session on Wednesday was adjourned until the following day by Mahmoud al-Mashhadani, the parliamentary speaker.
The parliamentary session was adjourned after Ahmed al-Massoudi, a politician loyal to al-Sadr, approached a legislator from the ruling coalition who was reading aloud the text of the agreement.
Al-Massoudi appeared to be about to grab the document, the Associated Press reported.
Personal guards of Hoshyar Zebari, the Iraqi foreign minister, stopped al-Massoudi from snatching the document.
The pact has the support of the ruling coalition but al-Sadr's followers oppose any deal with the US forces and many Sunni Arab groups have reservations.
Iraq and the US signed the agreement on Monday, but it must first pass in the Iraqi parliament before it can take effect.
Hassan al-Shimari, the head of the Shia Fadhila party, has said he will vote against the deal.
"We won't vote in favour of the security pact which has recently been sent to the Iraqi parliament. We hope that the political powers will deal with this matter with pure patriotism, far from party and personal interests," he said.Read More