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Iraqi Shiite Leader Threatens Protests, Strikes Unless Election Are Held

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posted on Jan, 17 2004 @ 06:06 PM
Sistani Ups The Stakes Against U.S.

If Sistani formally rejected the U.S. plan, Iraqis would never support it, his aide said (AFP)

KARBALA, Iraq, January 16 ( & News Agencies) In what could be a major challenge to the U.S. Authority in Iraq, the most influential Shiite scholar, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, threatened Friday, January16 , protests and a strike if the U.S.-led occupation authority did not back down from its plan to form an Iraqi government without direct elections.

"In the coming days, we are going to see protests and strikes and perhaps a confrontation with the occupying force if it insists on its colonial plans and designing the country's politics for its own interests," said Sheikh Abdel Mahdi al-Karbalai, Sistani's representative in the Shiite holy city of Karbala, according to Agence France-Presse (AFP).

"We tell you to support the Marja's call for general elections. The Marja will do all in its power to stop those who would throw away the rights of the Iraqi people and will not give up its cause," he told a crowd of hundreds.

Karbalai used the term Marja to refer to the elite group of scholars, headed by Sistani, to whom Iraq's strong Shiites so far not adopting confrontational stance against the occupation - look to for spiritual guidance.

Karbalai, like other top aides to Sistani, often delivers the scholars teaching in sermons Friday, the Islamic world's traditional day of rest.

His words had added significance as they were delivered at the Shrine of Hussein, one of Shiite Islam's holiest sites, 110 kilometers (68 miles) south of Baghdad, the burial site of the Muslim prophet Mohammed's grandson, Hussein.

Sistani has demanded general elections before Washington returns sovereignty in less than six months time.

In the south, in Basra, thousands of Shiites showed their solidarity with 73 -year-old Sistani Thursday, demonstrating against the U.S. plans for erecting a national government without conducting polls.

Bremer has said there is not enough time to hold elections before a handover of sovereignty due to lack of electoral registers and polling laws.

On Thursday, an aide to Sistani told Reuters in Kuwait that if the scholar formally rejected the U.S. plan, Iraqis would never support it.

"If (Sistani) issues a fatwa (edict) all the Iraqi people will go out in protest marches and demonstrations against the coalition forces," Ayatollah Mohammad Baqer al-Mohri said.

Tens of thousands of Iraqis took to the streets of the southern city of Basra, in support of Sistani's demand on Thursday.

And another top Shiite leader wrote to the U.S. President and British Prime Minister Tony Blair questioning their sincerity over the transfer of power to the Iraqis.

Hojat Al-Islam Ali Abdulhakim Alsafi said the transition plan had more to do with U.S. elections than Iraqi interests.

Sunni imams joined forces with Shiites in the speeches of Friday prayers in Baghdad and other Iraqi areas.

With the announcement in November of the occupations decision to establish an independent Iraq by July 1 without holding elections, Sistani has dug in his heels.

Last Sunday, he appeared to slam the door shut on compromise, telling a delegation from the handpicked U.S.-led Governing Council that there was no good reason not to hold polls to choose the nation's next leaders.

He insisted elections could be held in the coming months.

Since then, Bremer's team and the Council have looked at ways to expand their proposed regional caucus system - under a November 15 agreement - for selecting the transitional government.

But the two sides' relations have never been more tense.

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The supposed government that is being suggested will not be democratic.

Why would we set up this form of occupational puppet?

It would not represent the people, and therefore would have no legitimacy.

There is no reason to form another puppet. The Iraqi council is already a puppet government.

posted on Jan, 17 2004 @ 06:12 PM
It only makes sense, since we did go in there and liberate them and give them freedom and what not, why not let them ELECT THEIR OWN LEADER. I'm pretty sure that's what freedom would consist of.
on the US not letting them elect their own.

posted on Jan, 17 2004 @ 06:38 PM
Elections will take place but will within an appropriated time frame.


posted on Jan, 17 2004 @ 06:44 PM
Elections will take place but will within an appropriated time frame.

I cannot see any reason to wait.

They are planning to have elections of appointed people, why not nominated people instead? Very little difference that I can see.

Why should WE choose who they can vote for?

This will be a great effort to install yet another occupational puppet regime.

posted on Jan, 17 2004 @ 06:48 PM
I can....reason vary and are numerous.
The point is: the US is going to hand over control this coming summer....the appropriated time.


posted on Jan, 17 2004 @ 06:52 PM
The point is: the US is going to hand over control this coming summer.

Then why have puppet elections now?

That is the plan.

Do we intend to leave them with a puppet as the British did when they left Iraq?

That was overthown by the Baathists, and led to Saddam taking power.

I hope you are right, but if this is how it is doen the results in the long run could be far worse.

There is no need to hold any elections in Iraq unless the people can choose who they want.

They have no question that what is proposed is not freedom.

posted on Jan, 17 2004 @ 07:00 PM

Sunni imams joined forces with Shiites in the speeches of Friday prayers in Baghdad and other Iraqi areas.

We are driving them into eachothers arms in resistance against our rule.

Bin Ladens plan of the new Islamic Empire is moving forward, and we are helping him.

The best way to stop this is to give them freedom now.

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