Thousands of Sadrists demonstrated in downtown Baghdad for a second day on Tuesday, complaining about their marginalization and the high-handed policies of PM Nuri al-Maliki.
Al-Hayat reports in Arabic that the Sadr Movement and the Sunni Iraqi Accord Front both rejected the ‘memorandum of understanding’ between the US and Iraq signed by PM Nuri al-Maliki and US president George W. Bush two days ago. They complain that neither leader has the constitutional authority to make such an agreement without involvement of the legislature. They also complained that the document does not specify a timetable for withdrawal of US troops. One Sadrist called it a blueprint for a long-term civil Occupation of Iraq.
Meanwhile, Sunni and Shiite clerics are meeting in the Shiite holy city of Najaf.
Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, who lives in Najaf, called for harmony between Sunnis and Shiites.
Journalists polled by Pew say that at least half of Baghdad, including the Shiite slum of Sadr City, is too dangerous to visit still. The journalists say that Iraq is much more violent now than when they first arrived. A lot of them also think that the US media coverage of Iraq is overly sunny.
25% of Blackwater security guards in Iraq use steroids or other mind-altering drugs.
Two US soldiers died in Iraq on Tuesday. A series of bombings and attackes in the area north of Baghdad has killed some 35 persons in the past 24 hours.