A prominent Shi'a leader vehemently opposed to the US presence in Iraq has issued a sharply worded statement condemning the visit of the American president to the Middle East region.
Muqtada al-Sadr, the young cleric who leads the Sadrist current, opens his statement in Arabic, obtained by IraqSlogger, with the claim that, "Since America came with its project that it called 'Democracy', the Islamic and non Islamic peoples have suffered from a deteriorating condition that has gone from bad to worse," adding that "Poverty is spreading, unemployment is rampant, ignorance prevails, enmity and hatred are rife, and environmental pollution increases day after day."
Sadr continues, saying that "the visit of the great evil one (Bush) to the Middle East" comes in order to "impose control and hegemony on the rest of the countries, so that their fate will be like ours."
The statement "deplores and condemns" Bush's visit, which, it says "will only spread corruption and wars."
After several lines explaining that, according to Sadr, the president's agenda brought war to the region, rather than peace, the cleric challenges the American president to "spread your freedom among your own people, who suffer from your oppression, and spread peace among your people which suffers from fear and hatred of one another, because of you."
The Shi'a leader then addresses the Middle Eastern governments who will be receiving the President Bush during his tour of the region:
Then I direct my words to the Arab governments, and I say, do not forget the blood of your peoples that has been spilt at the hands of the armies of oppression under the its great commander Bush, and do not be partners in the (spilling of) the blood of your peoples, for you are the ones who are pleased by his visit and who have welcomed him, so this means your cooperation with him in (shedding) the blood of your brothers in Palestine, Iraq, and many other places.
Sadr closes, "If your rule can only be continued by welcoming him, then be united for the sake of ending the American influence, or rather pollution, from our lands, and preserve our people and our religion from the desecration of the West and its thought."
President Bush spent Wednesday talking with Israeli leaders and is due to meet the Palestine Authority leadership on Thursday, followed by visits to Kuwait, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Egypt.