mardi 25 octobre 2011

'US seeks to keep presence in Iraq'

'US seeks to keep presence in Iraq'

Mon Oct 24, 2011
Moqtada Al Sadr has accused the Americans of a clumsy strategy for holding onto their military stanglehold in Iraq.

Influential Iraqi cleric Moqtada al-Sadr

Influential Iraqi cleric Moqtada al-Sadr says the United States is seeking to maintain its occupation of Iraq through keeping trainers and private contractors in the Middle Eastern country.

Sadr said on Sunday that Washington will continue hatching plots against Iraq through its remaining forces in the US embassy and security firms in the country, Fars News Agency reported.

The Iraqi cleric went on to say that the US plan to keep some of its troops in Iraq is pointless, adding that Washington would not be able to deceive Iraqis under the guise of training soldiers.

The US State Department has been tasked with training Iraqi police since October 1, when it took over the responsibility from the US Defense Department.

Washington has been pressing Baghdad to agree to keep the remaining US troops in Iraq beyond December 31, a deadline which was set in a security agreement between Baghdad and Washington in 2008, known as the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA).
The Sadr movement is awaiting the full withdrawal of all US troops from Iraq, the influential cleric stated.

On Saturday, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said Iraqi forces are ready to take over security after the pullout of US troops from the country.

Maliki has also rejected the US proposal that 3,400 of the troops remain in the country, saying “we do not need such a large number.”


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