Sadr calls for protests of Maliki

Aug. 27, 2011 at 9:34 AM
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BAGHDAD, Aug. 27 (UPI) -- Radical Iraqi cleric Moqtada Sadr sent a letter to supporters calling on them to demonstrate against the government "in millions" when Ramadan ends next week.

The letter, read by an imam during prayer services Friday at a mosque in Kufa, calls for demonstrations and protests against Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki for his failure to adequately improve services such as electricity and water, The Washington Post reported Saturday.

"We remind the government about the fate of the Arab leaders who were swooped down by their own people and toppled them in Tunisia, Libya and Egypt," Sadr wrote, praising Libyan rebels who brought down Moammar Gadhafi after months of protests and fighting.

"The Iraq people will stand by the Iraqi resistance until bringing down the last U.S. occupation's flag from Iraq land," he said.

The message marks a reversal of the support Sadr expressed for Maliki when the cleric returned from Iran in January after four years of self-imposed exile, the newspaper said.

Sadr's Mehdi Army militia has claimed responsibility for more than 16 attacks on U.S. forces in recent weeks.

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