Saturday, September 6, 2008
In Baghdad's Sadr City: Seven minutes of 'no to America'
"BAGHDAD (AFP) - Seven minutes of "No to America" and then they left, ducking for shade. That was the extent of the protest by fewer than 200 Shiite radicals after Friday prayers in Baghdad's anti-US enclave of Sadr City.
The promising posters pasted on the walls of the sprawling shanty district in the east of the Iraqi capital called on supporters of Shiite cleric Moqtada Sadr to "peacefully reject and condemn" the US occupation......
But after a speech by imam Said Abdul Satar al-Battat -- a mixture of Koranic prayer and incantations railing against the evils of America -- fewer than 200 people crowded around for the usual burning of the American flag. "No to America! No to the devil," they shouted. "We are with you, Moqtada, to liberate Iraq!"
As was the case after prayers on Friday last week, dozens of Sadr's followers also signed blood oaths to continue their fight against US forces in Iraq.
More than a week ago Sadr ordered a halt to armed operations by his 60,000-strong Mahdi Army militia, blamed by Washington for some of the worst sectarian killings of Sunni Arabs in the war-torn country. Sadr's decision came after he promised earlier last month to dismantle the once feared militia if a planned security pact between Baghdad and Washington provides for the withdrawal of US troops......."