Iraq

Iraq rejects Saudi media Sadr arrest report

jos_arab_rejects_sadr-300x202 Iraqi government has rejected Saudi media’s reports that the government wants to arrest top Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr upon his arrival in Iraq. According to Shiite News Correspondent,”The news report that Mugtada al-Sadr would be arrested on his arrival in Iraq, is fake and for propaganda purposes,” a source in the office of Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said. Sadr also warned in a statement that the “rumor” is aimed at “instigating” rifts ahead of general elections due on March 7 in the country. The rumor comes while Maliki has warned against the money being injected in the country’s electoral process from foreign sources. A visit by the former Iraqi prime minister and head of the secular al-Iraqiya alliance, Iyad Allawi, to Saudi Arabia last week provoked fierce controversy in the country. Arab-language Nahrainnet news website quoted last week unnamed Saudi officials that Saudi authorities have told Allawi that they have allocated “billions of dollars to buy votes in Iraq’s upcoming elections” with the aim of securing parliamentary seats for “Liberals” and “atheists.” Maliki said: “I do not see any problems with some Iraqi politicians’ visit with another country’s authorities; but if they want to talk on Iraq future, future government, and the future prime minister, then I deem it treacherous to our country.” Iraq’s second general election since former dictator Saddam Hussein was toppled in 2003 is being seen as key to consolidating a fledgling democracy and ensuring a smooth exit of all US combat troops by the end of 2011.

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