Muqtada Condemns American Recall of the Baath
According to AFP/al-Hayat, in Kufa Muqtada al-Sadr threatened “the Baathists” whom the Coalition had begun returning to the administration of the state. He said in his Friday prayer sermon that the Americans “are attempting to return the Baathists to the administration of the state. I will not permit it. They will meet their end at the hands of the believers.” He said that the Interim Governing Council was humiliating itself if it did not respond decisively to this development. “Where is the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, which claims to combat the Baathists, and where is the al-Da`wa Party, with whose members the Baathists once filled their prisons?”
Muqtada pledged not to moderate his tone toward the US. “I have recently been requested to moderate my tone, since it risks drawing the wrath of the enemy down on us, but I shall never be silent.”
In his own Friday prayer sermon, former Iranian president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani said that “The Americans are at the gates of Najaf, and have demonstrated that they rarely use their intellects, rather using excessive force. They believe that they can raze the city with bulldozers, so that the people will surrender.” He added, “If the clerics in Najaf do not issue a warning to them, they will do to that city what they did to Fallujah. He said that the Iraq problem, if not resolved, “will become more complicated than the Palestinian issue, and will become a cancer in the region.”
Meanwhile, Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani and his three colleagues in Najaf issued a strong denunciation of Muqtada al-Sadr for his threat to unleash suicide bombers against the Americans if they invaded Najaf. The statement said that neither Sistani nor any other authority had authorized suicide bombings, and Muqtada did not have the standing to issue such a decree. (ash-Sharq al-Awsat).