Friday, Nov 21, 2008
Thousands of Iraqis have gathered on a central square in Baghdad to protest a US-proposed security pact that is yet to be finalized.
“No, no to the American agreementâ€¦ No, no to the agreement of humiliation,” chanted the protesters as they waved Iraqi flags and green banners.
The demonstrators, who had converged in Baghdad’s Firdous Square for Friday prayers, staged the last in a series of protests that have been held against the deal.
If approved by the parliament and ratified by the president, the deal will keep US forces in Iraq for another three years after their UN mandate expires on December 30.
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Iraq’s parliament is expected to vote on the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) on November 24.
Iraqi lawmakers, however, have not reached a consensus on the agreement yet, despite heated debates over the issue.
So far, the Shia Fadhila party and the Sunni Iraqi National Dialogue Front have announced their opposition to the long term security agreement. Together, the two parties hold 26 seats in parliament.
The Iraqi National Dialogue Front says US forces should only be allowed to stay for six months after December 30 to allow the government to find an alternative to the agreement.
The Sadr parliamentary bloc, which holds 29 seats, has also condemned cabinet-approval of the pact and called for its rejection in the parliament.
This article was posted: Friday, November 21, 2008 at 5:07 am