Baghdad imam blasts Iraqi 'agents'

Members of the US-appointed interim Governing Council of Iraq are "agents of America", the imam of Baghdad's largest Shia Muslim mosque has said.

    Iraqis have turned to imams for political guidance after the fall of Saddam Hussein

    Sayyed Hazem al-Araji, imam at the Mussa al-Kazem mosque, said on Friday that the council members do not represent the Iraqi people.


    "Some (Sunni) council members do not (even) represent our Sunni brethren, some of whom struggled and offered martyrs for Iraq, whereas those on the council have all been agents of America for years."


    He said 'turbaned' members of the council - an allusion to Shia representatives Abdul Aziz al-Hakim and Mohammed Bahr al-Uloom - have turned into US puppets too.


    American council


    "This is a governed council, not a governing council... It is an American council," said Araji, who is close to popular Shia leader Moqtada Sadr.  

    "Those on the council have all been agents of America for years"

    Sayyed Hazem al-Araji


    The Iraq Governing Council has the power to name and dismiss ministers, approve the 2004 budget and decide policy on economic and electoral reform.


    It is also supposed to work out a new constitution leading to an elected, internationally-recognised Iraqi government able to take over from the council and end the military occupation.


    However, final control of Iraq still rests with the US occupation-power administrator in Baghdad, Paul Bremer.



    Meet the deported nurse aiding asylum seekers at US-Mexico border

    Meet the deported nurse helping refugees at the border

    Francisco 'Panchito' Olachea drives a beat-up ambulance around Nogales, taking care of those trying to get to the US.

    The rise of Pakistan's 'burger' generation

    The rise of Pakistan's 'burger' generation

    How a homegrown burger joint pioneered a food revolution and decades later gave a young, politicised class its identity.

    'We will cut your throats': The anatomy of Greece's lynch mobs

    The brutality of Greece's racist lynch mobs

    With anti-migrant violence hitting a fever pitch, victims ask why Greek authorities have carried out so few arrests.