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Saturday, October 11, 2008

Anger against US mounts as Iraq Shiites bury slain MP

This is from AFP via Yahoo.
This MP was strongly anti-American and a strong critic of the SOFA (status of forces agreement) now being negotiated with the Americans. However it is quite possible that the was by Al Qaeda or other Sunni groups but who knows it could be courtesy of the US dept. of dirty tricks. The US has refused to give up immunity for their soldiers in Iraq and perhaps they are still trying to protect contractors as well.
Time is running out for the UN mandate at the end of December.


Anger against US mounts as Iraq Shiites bury slain MP
by Karim Talbi Fri Oct 10, 1:53 PM ET
BAGHDAD (AFP) - Mourners shouted anti-US slogans and torched American and Israeli flags in Baghdad's Shiite bastion after a radical MP was buried Friday, as fresh attacks killed at least 19 people across Iraq.
"Down with Americans, down with the occupation," Shiite youngsters shouted while burning US and Israeli flags at a public square in Sadr City after weekly prayers.
Car bombs, roadside blasts and a shooting near the capital and the northern cities of Mosul and Kirkuk killed at least 19 people and wounded at least another 66 on Friday, police and security officials said.
The worst single attack was in Baghdad's mainly Sunni quarter of Dora where a car bomb blast at a crowded market killed 13 people and wounded 27, police and the defence ministry said.
In the northern city of Kirkuk, claimed by Arabs and Kurds, Iraqi journalist Diyar Abbas Ahmed, 28, was gunned down, police Brigadier General Torhan Yusuf said.
Also targeted was an Iraqi military base in Habaniyah, near the city of Fallujah, where a car bomb wounded seven soldiers, two of them seriously.
Earlier in the day, gunfire rattled through the impoverished Shiite stronghold of Sadr City where 41-year-old anti-American Shiite MP Saleh al-Ogayly was killed Thursday in a roadside bomb attack.
Special UN representative for Iraq, Staffan de Mistura, denounced the murder in a statement calling it an "outrageous crime aimed at perpetuating instability in Iraq."
Supporters of the MP from the radical anti-American cleric Moqtada al-Sadr's party called for a nationwide "demonstration" on October 18 to protest the assassination, the first of an Iraqi lawmaker in 18 months.
Iraqi troops and the US military stepped up security in Sadr City after Thursday's high-profile bomb attack.
"Americans get out. Americans get out," shouted mourners as relatives hugged each other and wept while Ogayly's wooden coffin was brought out of his home draped in the tri-colour Iraqi flag.
Ogayly was later buried in the holy shrine city of Najaf.
His party blamed the killing on the US military and said Ogayly had been a vociferous critic of the proposed military pact between the Shiite-led government of Premier Nuri al-Maliki and the Americans.
"What happened indicates that the occupation (US forces) was behind the attack," said Sheikh Salah al Obeidi, a spokesman for Sadr.
"He has criticised severely the weakest points in the (US) agreement which led to the embarrassment of the Americans," Obeidi told AFP in Najaf. "So we see that it was in their interest to get rid of Ogayly."
The US military strongly denied any involvement in Ogayly's killing.
"We are not behind this event," the US military said in response to allegations by Sadr's faction. The assassination was also condemned by US ambassador in Baghdad, Ryan Crocker, and General Raymond Odierno, the commander of US forces in Iraq.
The Sadrists have rejected the proposed Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) which would provide the legal basis for a US troop presence beyond December when a UN mandate runs out.
Obeidi said Ogayly was a key figure in negotiations with the government on the SOFA.
Prime Minister Maliki, who has condemned the assassination and vowed to get the killers, travelled to Najaf on Friday to discuss the proposed military deal with Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, Iraq's most respected Shiite cleric.
Maliki told reporters that Sistani would support a consensus in parliament. Washington has made "big concessions," but immunity issues remained a problem, he said.
In Sadr City itself, people returned to the streets and markets were packed with people on Friday, the weekly religious holiday, amid tightened security.
The Shiite district was the site of heavy fighting between US troops and Sadr's Mahdi Army militia in March and April.

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