U.S. Withdrawal Plans Draw Suspicion, Fear in Iraq
President Barack Obama’s announcement that all U.S. combat troops will leave Iraq by the end of the year has provoked diametrically opposed reaction among the political factions of the Iraqi government, reflecting deep divisions over the country’s future at a tumultuous period for the entire region.
Iranian-backed Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, who controls a sizable bloc in Parliament and half a dozen ministries in the current government, issued a fresh threat against the U.S. on Sunday, warning Washington that his militiamen would target any oversized presence at the U.S. embassy in Baghdad designed as he said to compensate for the full military withdrawal and retain influence in Iraq.
"Look at this farce, which I think fools no one," he said in a statement posted on the website of his political movement.
"We are awaiting full [U.S.] withdrawal, which will come as a result of the efforts and strength of the resistance fighters."
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