Sadr warns of ‘US aims’ in Mideast
BAGHDADU.S. plans to station troops across the Mideast after withdrawing from Iraq amount to occupying other Islamic countries, Iraq’s most outspoken anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr says.
Shiite cleric al-Sadr said in an interview broadcast Nov. 3 that he’s not satisfied with President Barack Obama’s pledge to pull all U.S. troops from Iraq by the end of the year, calling it a partial withdrawal because of the thousands of diplomats and security guards who will stay behind.
“The American occupation will stay in Iraq under different names,” al-Sadr told Al-Arabiya TV in his first interview since Obama announced the troop pullout last month.
“America is not only occupying Iraq but also other Islamic countries,” he said. “Occupying Iraq means occupying what is around Iraq, and then to control the Middle East.” Al-Sadr’s remarks came on the same day that a U.S. soldier has been killed in northern Iraq, the U.S. military said Nov. 4, the first American service member to die in an attack here since the U.S. announced its forces would depart by year’s end. “A U.S. service member was killed Nov. 3 while conducting operations in northern Iraq,” the military said in a brief statement, without providing further details.