Thousands of followers of radical Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr demonstrated Friday against an agreement that would extend the U.S. military presence in Iraq, shouting "America out!" and burning an effigy of President Bush.
The rally was held in Baghdad's Firdaus Square, where U.S. soldiers toppled a statue of President Saddam Hussein in an iconic moment of the 2003 invasion. Friday's demonstration followed two days of boisterous protests by Sadr's loyalists in parliament, which is scheduled to vote next week on the agreement.
The Sadrists do not appear to have the strength to derail the bilateral accord, which would allow American troops to stay in Iraq for three more years. The group has only 30 seats in the 275-seat parliament. Friday's protest drew thousands of people but was smaller than a massive demonstration held by Sadr loyalists in the same central Baghdad plaza in 2005.
The above is from Mary Beth Sheridan's "Sadr Followers Rally Against U.S. Accord" (Washington Post) and Stephen Farrell's "Protests in Baghdad on U.S. Pact" covers it in the New York Times:
In Firdos Square, protesters sat in rows of 50 stretching back more than half a mile. They filled Sadoun Street, beside the Palestine Hotel and in front of the colonnaded traffic circle where five years ago American troops pulled down the dictator’s statue in scenes televised around the world.
While the rally was billed as a cross-community effort, to be attended by Shiite and Sunni clerics, the vast majority of those in attendance were Sadrists. Many had come from Mr. Sadr’s stronghold of Sadr City, and the chants the crowd took up were "Moktada, Moktada," "No, no to America," and "No, no to the agreement."
Sadrist officials said they opposed the security agreement because they did not believe assurances that the Americans would ever leave. They depicted the pact as a successor to colonial-era treaties with Western powers in the last century that, they said, had "sold the Arab and the Muslim lands into occupation."
A few people are noting Ralph Nader in the e-mails (some noting are members). It will not go up here. I'm not interested. It has nothing to do with Ralph's formula of "Clinton = Evil." It has everthing to do with shoddy work and shoddier work being cited. Jeremy Scahill? The punk ass who couldn't call out Samantha Power because she was feeing him things for his writing? Couldn't call out his own personal Deep Throat? He made a fool out of himself and everyone paying attention was laughing their ass off at him. That was then. The only rescue his failed name today is to come out hitting hard. And the piece of his Ralph cites is more hideous garbage. He probably he thinks he's brave for 'calling out' Sarah Sewall -- by hiding behind Tom Hayden. He can't call her out himself because he's too much of a punk ass coward (and because Sammy Power and Sarah Sewar are tight-tight-tight).
We're not highlighting garbage. Ralph citing that bad, bad article makes his own piece garbage. When Jeremy Scahill decides he's tired of cowering in appeasement, he may have something worth saying. He hasn't hit his rock bottom yet and he can muddle through in denial on his own.
It's past time that Sarah Sewar was loudly called out. The War Hawk pushed the illegal war and continues to push it. She publicly stated at the end of last year that the Iraq War couldn't be seen as a failure because it would hurt other wars. She oversaw the counter-insurgency manual. She's a bloody War Hawk and until people can call her out, they're nothing but cowards and appeasers. This crap that's being offered by our 'brave' left wouldn't have cut if John McCain had won the election and it certainly doesn't cut it under the faux 'anti-war' Barack. [For the stupid who still don't get it, Liar Barack is far more dangerous than John McCain because with McCain in the White House the left would have hit the ground running. Instead, too many of us are stuck in a 'holding pattern' afraid to criticize and a huge portion intends to get through four years without launching any serious criticism. And, as we've pointed out for nearly two years now, Barack means AFRICOM. What Bully Boy couldn't get, Barack will.]
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the washington post
mary beth sheridan
the new york times