UIA woos Muqtada
Inquiry Launched into Saddam Execution Irregularities
MENA, the Egyptian news agency, reports a demonstration of hundreds of persons on Tuesday in Habhab near Baquba, protesting Saddam’s execution. The demonstrators denounced the Iraqi and American governments.
An Iraqi observer at Saddam’s execution, prosecutor Munqidh Faraon, maintains that two senior Iraqi government officials took the footage with their cell phones. Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has launched an investigation. But national security adviser Muwaffaq al-Ruba’i admits that the footage, which includes Shiite sectarian chanting and taunting, is extremely damaging to the government.
An Iranian wire service reports that the parties making up the Shiite United Iraqi Alliance (the leading bloc in parliament) met with young Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr in hopes of convincing him to ask the 32 parliamentarians who follow him to return to the alliance. The effort is being guided by Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, who spearheaded the formation of the UIA in fall, 2004. This Iranian interpretation of the meetings suggests that they are intended to forestall an alliance of the Sadrists with Sunni Arab parties, which would have the effect of dividing the Shiites. Mehr also explains Muqtada’s prerequisites for rejoining the UIA, which his deputies left when Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki met with US President George W. Bush in Amman. Muqtada, the report says,
‘ has said that his supporters will return to parliament and cabinet sessions if a timetable is set for the withdrawal of foreign troops. He also totally rejected the proposals to merge the Mahdi Army with Iraq’s armed forces, saying that would only be possible after the withdrawal of U.S. troops.’
Police found 53 bodies in Iraq on Tuesday: 45 in Baghdad, 5 in nearby Nahrawan to the southeast, and another 3 in Mosul. Political violence left about 10 persons dead on Tuesday. A bombing wounded 3 Iraqi policemen in Kirkuk. Another bombing killed 5 persons in central Baghdad.
Al-Hayat reports in Arabic that Adnan al-Kadhimi, a member of the Dawa Party politburo told its reporter that the new strategy of the al-Maliki government will stand on three pillars: 1) taking security duties over from Americans; 2) making alterations in the Iraqi cabinet, and 3) and implementing a plan for reconciliation so as to gather as many Sunnis as possible [on the side of the government].
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