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Iraqi Groups Try To Undercut Plan To Isolate Extremists December 22, 2006

Posted by notapundit in World News.
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NEW YORK (Dow Jones)–Several Iraqi political groups on Thursday maneuvered to undercut a U.S.-backed initiative that would create a multisectarian bloc intended to isolate extremists like the Shiite cleric and militia leader Moktada al-Sadr, The New York Times reported in its Friday editions.

The bloc would consist of a Sunni Arab, Shiite Arab and Kurdish party alliance.

This week, Iraqi and Western officials said that Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, a highly influential Shiite cleric, had given a tentative go-ahead to the coalition, but on Thursday, Saleem Abdullah, a Sunni Arab lawmaker who is a senior member of the Iraqi Islamic Party, said his party had set tough new conditions for its participation in the bloc, the Times reported.

The framers of the bloc seemed highly unlikely to be able to meet some of the Islamic partys demands, like an insistence that more Sunni Arabs be installed in senior positions at Iraqi ministries and security forces now controlled by Shiites.

Now the negotiations are stopped and we are waiting for their response, Abdullah said. Honestly, I think an agreement will be very difficult.

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