While Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s support for the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) with the United States is likely to secure support from key Shi’ite political leaders for the latest draft, they face continued dissent from key Shi’ite religious leaders, who for the second week in a row used Friday’s sermons to attack the draft, set to be voted upon by the cabinet sometime this weekend.
Sources close to Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, whose support (or at least acquiescence) is probably necessary for the SOFA to have a hope of passing, say he has vowed to intervene if he believes the agreement infringes on national sovereignty.
Influential cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, who has long been at the forefront of organizing opposition to the SOFA, calling in a statement read after prayers for all Muslims to join in unified prayer against the pact, and raising the prospect of resumed violent resistance if the occupation continues.
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