Sistani Demands Withdrawal
Iraq’s most influential Shiite cleric on Tuesday demanded that all armed groups withdraw from the embattled holy cities of Najaf and Karbala, where nine militiamen loyal to a rebel cleric were killed in heavy fighting with U.S. forces.
The statement by Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Husseini al-Sistani came after the U.S. administrator in Iraq vowed to continue the transfer of sovereignty to Iraqis as scheduled despite Monday’s killing of the head of the U.S.-appointed Iraqi Governing Council.
“Terrorists are trying to stop Iraq’s march to sovereignty and peace,” U.S. administrator L. Paul Bremer said at a memorial service in Baghdad for Izzadine Saleem, who was killed by a suicide bomber Monday at a checkpoint near coalition headquarters. “They will not succeed.”
“We must continue the political process leading to an interim government next month and to elections next year,” he added.
Interesting. It’s not clear what effect this will have.