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Iraqi lawmakers to take up security deal

Iraqi lawmakers to take up security deal
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki | License Photo

BAGHDAD, Nov. 19 (UPI) -- An Iraqi parliamentary session on the proposed security agreement with the United States ended in a shouting match Wednesday.

The three-year status of forces agreement allows U.S. troops to remain in Iraq through 2011. Many Iraqi legislators object to some of the details, while the followers of radical Shiite cleric Moqtada Sadr object to any U.S. agreement.

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Concerns about the debate ran high before it started, with security guards stationed in the chamber, The New York Times reported. Officials said the guards were also there to protect cabinet ministers who had come to explain the agreement.

The session started with opponents of the treaty arguing parliament has not yet adopted a procedure to approve such agreements. Speaker Mahmoud Mashhadani then spent two hours denouncing the objectors.

When Hassan al-Sneid, a Shiite member, began the second reading of the treaty, opponents continued to yell objections. The session became completely chaotic when Ahmed Masu'udi, a Sadrist, approached Sneid and was pushed by security guards.

Lawmakers spilled out of the chamber, still shouting at each other as guards tried to keep reporters away.

Parliament is set to make another attempt at a second reading Thursday.

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