Iraqi Cleric Says US Defense Bill May Split Iraq

TEHRAN (Tasnim) - Iraqi cleric Moqtada al-Sadr on Wednesday threatened to hit the US interests in and out of Iraq over a proposed defense bill yet to be approved by the US, which he said could divide Iraq.

Iraqi Cleric Says US Defense Bill May Split Iraq

"The US House of Representatives intends to pass a draft law on Iraq making each sect independent from the other, and this will be the beginning of Iraq's division," Sadr said in a statement.

If the US passes such law, "then we will be obliged to lift the freeze on the military wing which is tasked with (fighting) the American side, to start hit the US interests in Iraq and even abroad possibly," Sadr warned.

The US House Armed Services Committee on April 27 released a defense bill which is scheduled to be debated and voted on in the committee on April 29.

The bill suggested that at least 25 percent of 715 million dollars of US aid to Iraqi forces to be allocated to the Kurdish Peshmerga and the Sunni tribal militias and a yet-to-be-established Iraqi Sunni National Guard, Xinhua reported.

Sadr also urged the Iraqi government and the country's parliament to adopt a strong response to the US bill, the statement said, adding that the Iraqi people have to protect their land by rejecting and denouncing such move that could divide the country.

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