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Sadr City Raid Sparks Parliamentary Activism
New Committee to Outline Recommendations for UN on Future of US Presence
10/23/2007 1:02 PM ET
The body of an Iraqi boy killed during fights between US troops and militants in Baghdad's Sadr City neighborhood lies in a coffin, 21 October 2007.
The body of an Iraqi boy killed during fights between US troops and militants in Baghdad's Sadr City neighborhood lies in a coffin, 21 October 2007.

The Iraqi Parliament is forming a committee to review the basis of the government's relationship with the US military, with an eye for formulating recommendations to present to the United Nations for consideration when the Security Council discusses the re-authorization of the US mission later this year.

Parliament posted a statement on its website Monday, following a hastily-convened meeting called in response to the US military's raid on Sadr City Sunday, which has sparked an outcry over reports that the operation killed a number of civilians.

"The consensus was reached during a meeting on Monday morning chaired by deputy speaker Sheikh Khalid Attiya and with the participation of representatives of political blocs," read a statement.

"The meeting stressed the need to release a statement on the violations committed by MNF personnel and their unjustifiable bombings of civilians," it added.

The US military says its operation Sunday targeted and killed 49 members of a kidnapping ring, with no civilian casualties.

Iraqi officials, however, have reported that the assault, in which US helicopters fired on its target while flying low over Sadr City, did not cause such a high number of deaths, but did kill a number of civilians, including children. The Iraqi estimates of the number killed only reach about 14-17.

A number of media reports have verified at least part of the Iraqis assertion--that 2-4 children were killed Sunday--though the US military has not altered its official account of the incident.

VOI reports participants at Monday's meeting discussed the US military's apparent random shelling of residential neighborhoods under the pretext of hunting down suspects, and the failure of the Iraqi forces to take the lead. The MNF's release of detainees and raids on government institutions without consulting the Iraqis were also discussed.

According to the LA Times, members of parliament speculated Monday that the committee could recommend limiting the U.S. presence to certain areas in Iraq, or express a desire for a mission statement establishing the primary goal of American troops should be to train Iraqi forces. A defined timeline could become one request, though it appears that outright opposition to the UN re-authorization would be unlikely.

"We think the issue is about establishing and developing Iraqi security forces capable of confronting the challenges," Salim Abdullah Jabouri, spokesman for the Iraqi Accordance Front, told the LA Times. "It's not right to speak about not having the presence of the U.S. forces, taking into consideration the chaos and security instability."


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