Sadrists flood Basra in million-strong demo on war anniversary
[Pak Daily Times] Around a million loyalists of holy man Moqtada
... the Iranian catspaw holy man who was 22 years old in 2003 and was nearing 40 in 2010. He spends most of his time in Iran, safely out of the line of fire, where he's learning to be an ayatollah...
rallied in south Iraq on Monday decrying poor services and rampant graft on the ninth anniversary of the US-led invasion against Saddam Hussein.
Protesters flooded the centre of the southern port city of Basra for the rally, with demonstrators waving Iraqi flags and portraits of the anti-US Shia holy man and his father, Grand Ayatollah Mohammed Mohammed Sadiq al-Sadr, killed in 1999 by assailants thought to have been sent by Saddam.
The demonstration came just days before Iraq is due to host an Arab League
...an organization of Arabic-speaking states with 22 member countries and four observers. The League tries to achieve Arab consensus on issues, which usually leaves them doing nothing but a bit of grimacing and mustache cursing...
summit, the first meeting of the 22-nation body since Saddam's 1990 invasion of neighbouring Kuwait. Reading remarks composed by Sadr, currently in Iran, Sadrist religious leader Sheikh Assad al-Nassari told the crowd: "We cannot rest when there is injustice against us." "Demand your rights, I will support you, and with our unity we will be strong. You must fight for a stable nation."
Two officers in the police and army in Basra put the number of protesters at one million, while Sadrist officials claimed 1.5 million attended. An AFP journalist put the number of protesters at several hundred thousand. Demonstrators, many of whom came from different provinces to take part in what was dubbed the "Day to Support Oppressed Iraqis", shouted: "Yes to rights! Yes to humanity! No to injustice! No to poverty! No to corruption!"
Some protesters held aloft electrical cables, water canisters and shovels to symbolise the poor services that plague Iraq. Others carried empty coffins with words plastered on them such as 'democracy', 'electricity', 'education' and 'services'. Despite increasing oil production, Iraq suffers from electricity shortages, with power cuts multiplying during the boiling summer, poor clean water provision, widespread corruption and high unemployment.
Sadr's movement, which counts around 40 MPs and several ministers as part of its political bloc, organised the demonstration to coincide with the ninth anniversary of the US-led invasion that overthrew Saddam.
The rally had no widespread anti-American message, though some protesters held aloft placards that read "No to America" and "No to Israel". US forces, who numbered nearly 170,000 at their peak in Iraq, withdrew from the country in December, and now just 157 soldiers remain under the charge of the US embassy in addition to a marine detachment responsible for the diplomatic mission's security. In recent years, the Sadrist movement had organised demonstrations on April 9, to coincide with the day the US officially ousted Saddam.
...back at the dirigible, Jack stuck the cigar in his mouth, stepped onto the gantry, and asked
Got a light, Mac?
Von Schtinken stopped short, lowering the dagger and trying to control his features.
If you light that thing, Herr Armschtröng, he pointed out, his voice tense,
we all die!...
Iraq has agreed to repatriate Saudi prisoners who fought alongside hard boyz against US-led forces under a deal that signals further improvement of relations between the two major Arab countries.
The prisoner exchange deal comes less than a month after Soddy Arabia named an ambassador to Storied Baghdad
...located along the Tigris River, founded in the 8th century, home of the Abbasid Caliphate...
for the first time since Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait in 1990. It also comes ahead of an Arab summit in Storied Baghdad on March 29 which has been delayed twice by regional turmoil and acrimony between Storied Baghdad and some Sunni Moslem Gulf Arab states over a crackdown by Bahrain's Sunni rulers on Shia protesters.
"The agreement emanates from the strong relations between the two brotherly people and in the interest of strengthening friendship and cooperation between them," the Saudi Justice Ministry said in a statement. It was issued after the accord was signed in Riyadh by Justice Minister Muhammad al-Eissa and his Iraqi counterpart Hassan al-Shimari.
An Iraqi Justice Ministry front man said the deal was part of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's efforts to strengthen ties with Soddy Arabia. "The two sides agreed that this will be effective as soon as possible," front man Haider Al-Saadi said.
Posted by: Fred