Grand Ayatollah prohibits extension of U.S. military presence in Iraq

April 25, 2011 - 0:0

TEHRAN - Grand Ayatollah Seyyed Kazim Husseini al-Haeri has issued a religious ruling forbidding the extension of the U.S. military presence in Iraq beyond December 2011.

Grand Ayatollah Haeri is one of the most prominent Shia clerics in the world and is a marja taqlid, which is a high-ranking Shia cleric who is regarded as a source of emulation.
Grand Ayatollah Haeri issued a fatwa in Qom on Sunday in which he expressly prohibited the unlawful extension of the presence of occupation forces in Iraq after the end of 2011, the Fars news agency reported.
The text of the fatwa was posted on Grand Ayatollah Haeri’s official website.
The fatwa reads: “The Americans have occupied our country and have spread corruption and have ruined whatever was left by Saddam (Hussein). Therefore… based on the security agreement (signed by Iraq and the U.S.), all U.S. forces must leave the country at the end of 2011.”
Grand Ayatollah Haeri added, “The extension of the mission of the infidel occupiers in Iraq, even for one single day after the mentioned date (as cited in the security agreement), is haram (religiously forbidden).”
Meanwhile, over the past few days, several U.S. officials have travelled to Iraq in order to convince Iraqi officials to extend the security pact.
In a statement issued on Saturday, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said that he is not going to extend the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) with the U.S. military and will not ask U.S. troops to stay in the country beyond the agreed pullout date at the end of December 2011.
“The prime minister rules out the possibility for any new security agreement to prolong the presence of U.S. troops in Iraq because the (current) document of the strategic agreement (SOFA) is clear in this respect,” the statement said.
The statement noted that various Iraqi groups are opposed to the extension of the U.S. military presence beyond December 2011.
According to Iraqi news agencies, Maliki said the decision is final.
The SOFA, signed by the United States and the Iraqi government, mandates that Washington withdraw its troops from Iraq by the end of December 2011.
Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr has warned that his supporters would resume armed opposition if U.S. troops remain in Iraq after December 2011.