Baghdad: A powerful anti-American Shiite
cleric in Iraq with thousands of loyal followers says US
forces who stay past the December 31 withdrawal deadline are
fair game to attack.
Muqtada al-Sadr made the statement on his website Tuesday
after Iraqi government officials recently said they were
opening talks with Washington to discuss keeping a number of
American forces in the country.
Iraqi officials, worried about a potential backlash if US
troops remain, have reiterated that any potential American
military force would be kept to train Iraqi troops.
But al-Sadr`s statement indicates that thousands of
Iraqis strongly oppose any American troops staying in the
country, regardless of their role.