RealNews

Shiite Group Ignores US Demand to Disarm Militia

The largest Shiite party in Iraq has refused to disarm its militia of 25,000 men after a United States draft directive called for all armed groups except the Kurdish peshmerga fighters to surrender their weapons. Relations between the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI) and US administrators in Baghdad were at breaking point at the weekend after the group rejected moves to force the Badr Brigade to disarm. US officials had regarded Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, SCIRI’s representative in the interim government, as their greatest hope of forging a relationship with the Shiites. But delegates described furious exchanges between General David McKiernan, the commander of land forces in Iraq, and SCIRI leaders at disarmament talks with all seven parties in the interim government. Hamid Al-Bayati, a spokesman for SCIRI, said: “Over the past week US troops have stormed up to a dozen SCIRI offices across Iraq confiscating money, arms and vehicles. They have arrested members of Badr forces.” Full Story

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