Aug 19, 2011
NAJAF, Iraq — A radical anti-US Shiite cleric warned of “war” if US forces stayed in Iraq beyond a year-end deadline for their withdrawal, in a brief statement viewed on Wednesday.
Moqtada al-Sadr did not give any further details in the written reply to a follower’s question, released by his office in the holy Shiite city of Najaf.
Asked whether or not he would negotiate directly or indirectly with US forces over a security training mission to last beyond the end of this year, the cleric replied simply: “No, there will be war.”
The statement was at least the fourth message in the past two weeks from Sadr calling for American forces to leave the country, following an August 3 announcement by Iraqi political leaders that they would open talks with Washington over a training mission.