Monday, September 10, 2007


Sadr Movement Holding Conference To Discuss Security Situation After British Withdrawal

Security, Politics
(Azzaman Newspaper) - 9 SEP - The Sadr Movement has confirmed that the Mahdi Army “Companies” have been abiding by Sayid Muqtada Al Sadr’s order regarding the suspension of Mahdi Army activities for six months. The Mahdi Army Commander in Basrah, Nazzar Al Hammada, has threatened that they will carry weapons against any foreign forces that attempt to replace the British forces in the center of the city.
He added that the Sadr Movement will organize a conference in the city for the purpose of determining the Mahdi Army’s role now that the British forces have withdrawn. Sadr Movement Parliament member, Maha Al Douri said, “The statement of Sayid Muqtada Al Sadr regarding the suspension of the Mahdi Army’s activities is clear and the Army has been abiding by this statement. No violations have been committed yet.”
Regarding the statement of the Mahdi Army Commander in Basrah, Nazzar Al Hammada, Al Douri added, “I have not received any information yet. The Mahdi Army has its own command and is following its orders.”
Radio Sawa, based on the statements of Al Hammada, mentioned that the Mahdi Army will not pursue the British forces as long as they remain outside the city. Mahdi Army members will not carry weapons inside the city. The Mahdi Army will not disarm itself and rejects the agreement that was recently signed between 18 political entities in Basrah. This agreement was signed under the supervision of Basrah Operations Commander, Mohan Al Firaji.
Al Hammada, who also runs the Sadr Movement’s Martyrs of God Institution, said that the Sadr Movement will hold a conference in the city for the purpose of determining the Mahdi Army’s role now that the British forces have withdrawn. Regarding carrying weapons against foreign forces, Al Hammada added, “Resistance is the only option against any British or American presence. The Mahdi Army has no intention of raising weapons against the Iraqi governmental forces. The Mahdi Army’s goal is to maintain security.”
On the other, Maha Al Douri said, “The Sadr Movement has its obvious role and impact in Basrah’s streets. The Movement works to serve Basrah society. The Mahdi Army was the first to carry weapons as public resistance against the occupation and now we have been hearing many leaders claim that they lead the patriotic resistance but they all wear masks hiding their identity.” Regarding the security in Basrah, Al Douri said, “Basrah is secure and the British force’s withdrawal from Basrah is a victory and a clear defeat brought by the resistance. But the media has not covered it well.”
About the conference that will be held in Basrah regarding Mahdi Army’s role, Al Douri said, “If there is any direction from the Sadr Movement, this conference will be a success and will be good for the Iraqi people. But here I object to any claims against such a conference. Many political parties have held such conferences in Basrah.”
On the other hand, the Defense Minister’s advisor for the southern region, Majid Al Saari, believes that the British force’s withdrawal from central Basrah will lead to improvement of the political and security situations. Yesterday, Al Saari told Azzaman Newspaper, “Since the beginning, the British forces have not solved the security situation; rather, it was part of the security problem.”
Regarding the readiness of the army and IP in Basrah, Al Saari said, “The military and security forces are able to control security in Basrah and to fill the gap left by the British force’s withdrawal. We are still working to deal with the infiltration of the military and security forces.”
The Sadr Movement Office in Basrah has described the British forces withdrawal there as a historical moment. Azzaman Newspaper has received a copy of a statement issued by the Sadr Movement in Basrah, which states, “There were three main factors that led to this withdrawal: First, your patience and the burdens you have bared; Second, the honorable resistance which taught the occupiers lessons through the Imam Mahdi Army’s attacks; And third, the encouragement of the British peoples’ attitude which pressed the Brown and Blair governments.

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