Shiite leader wants resistance pardon

In a clear departure from the position of Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, powerful Shiite leader Abdel Aziz al-Hakim joined on Monday, July 3, calls for an amnesty offered as part of a national reconciliation drive to include Iraqis fighting against

Shiite leader wants resistance pardon
Yes they should be covered regardless of their religious or ethnic affiliations," Hakim, the head of the parliament's largest bloc, told Agence France-Presse (AFP) when asked if he would support pardoning those who have killed US-led troops.

Hakim, the head of the influential Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, said he would oppose any dialogue with "Saddamists and takfeeris," terms used to refer to extremists who regard Shiites as apostates.

In his first interview with Western journalists since coming to office, Maliki asserted on Tuesday, June 27, that no pardon would be given to those involved in resistance attacks against US-led forces.

"The amnesty doesn't include those who have killed Iraqis or even coalition forces because those soldiers came to Iraq under international agreements to help Iraq," he said.

Maliki, a Shiite, unveiled on Sunday, June 25, a national reconciliation plan as part of efforts to end violence plaguing the Arab country three years after the US invasion.

The vaguely worded plan 24-point envisages an amnesty for those "who did not take part in criminal and terrorist acts and war crimes."

A number of MPs have hit out at the proposal, saying it was ambiguous and did not provide enough incentive for fighters to give up arms.

The US military's death toll since the invasion rose to 2,529, according to an AFP count based on Pentagon figures.

No Limits

"We don't set conditions. The Iraqi government has the responsibility for proceeding forward with its own amnesty," said Snow.

In a related development, the Bush administration said Monday that it would not set limits on the Iraqi amnesty plan.

"We don't set conditions. The Iraqi government has the responsibility for proceeding forward with its own amnesty," said White House spokesman Tony Snow, commenting on Hakim's remarks.

"The (US) position is that we trust the Iraqi government to do what is going to be necessary to create national unity and reconciliation and to consolidate and move forward with its democracy," Snow told reporters.

"To say 'do we support or not support' would indicate that we have an official role in it, and we do not," said the spokesman.

"We're going to let the Iraqi government work through that."

Many in the US Congress have publicly opposed extending any amnesty in Iraq to fighters who have killed US troops.

Many US Senators have already spoken out against any pardon for those who killed American soldiers.

"That is unacceptable," said Senator Richard Durbin, the Democrats' deputy leader in the Senate.

"To think of the lives that we have put on the line for the future of this nation and that those who are responsible for killing our soldiers would not be held accountable is not acceptable."

The Association of Muslim Scholars, the highest Sunni religious authority in Iraq, rejected on Friday, June 30, Maliki's plan.

"What Maliki said is confirming that the initiative is meaningless because he has excluded everyone," said spokesman Muthenna Hareth Al-Dari, referring to excluding those who have fought occupation troops from the amnesty.

Last Mod: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16
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