Muqtada Aide: Australia Out!
According to Australian Broadcasting Co., Imam Amer al-Hussaini, an aide to Muqtada al-Sadr, called Sunday for an immediate withdrawal of Australian troops from Iraq. ‘ “The Saddam regime (is) gone and … we know how to control our country,” he told ABC radio through an interpreter. ‘
Australian Broadcasting’s Peter Cave conducted the whole interview:
‘ PETER CAVE: In Baghdad thousands of Sadr supporters gridlocked the city centre as they laid siege to Paul Bremer’s headquarters throughout the day. Shiites were repressed under Saddam Hussein and I asked Imam Hazin al Aaraji, who was leading the protest, if he now saw the American administration as the enemy?
IMAM HAZIN AL AARAJI: One hundred per cent.
PETER CAVE: Why?
IMAM HAZIN AL AARAJI: Why?… (translated) They killed two of Al Mah[di] army yesterday and we have sixteen injured.
PETER CAVE: . . . I spoke to Amer al-Husseini, who runs the Sadr mosque and is Moqtada’s chief lieutenant in Sadr City.
(To Amer al-Husseini) Are they opposed to the Americans being here in general or just the actions they’ve taken against the newspaper?
AMER AL HUSSEINI: (translated) In general because Saddam regime had been gone and Iraqis should have their country controlled and we know how to control our country. To be here as occupiers, they are not welcome here.
PETER CAVE: One final question, could you explain that there is a debate in Australia about removing Australia’s 850 troops. Has he got a message for the Australian Government, about Australia’s troops who are here?
AMER AL HUSSEINI (translated): Well we hope that Australia will follow Spain, or their decision to withdraw from Iraq, but we should also say we thank very much the Australian for helping us and we through your TV want to tell the Prime Minister, the Australian Prime Minister, that thank you for your helping, but please withdraw from Iraq.
PETER CAVE: Amer Al Husseini, who runs the Sadr mosque and is Moqtada’s chief lieutenant in Sadr City and that report from correspondent Peter Cave.