Feb 7, 2005 5:03 pm


."The Committee of Muslim Scholars said it was willing to assist with the new constitution provided a consensus was found on a fixed departure of the US-led foreign troops after talks with UN special envoy in Iraq, Ashraf Qazi.

"Qazi asked the committee to take part in drafting the constitution. We told him that we had conditions and that we would discuss them with the parties that boycotted the polls and would put forward a common stance," said spokesman Omar Ragheb.

"These demands focus on reaching a consensus with all political parties on a withdrawal of foreign forces," he added.

The organization, which opposed last Sunday's general elections, hinted that the influential grouping of religious figures could then weigh on guerillas to end attacks on occupation forces.

"Then, the country's elders will tell the resistance: 'No need to spill more blood'," Mr Ragheb said. Ulema link help with troop withdrawal: Drafting of constitution -

The nerve! Having boycotted the elections and thus having given up the chance to get elected, these pro-terrorist clerics (why are they not in jail for supporting terror)? should have been begging for a seat at the table. Instead, they are setting conditions!

Of course, given the repeated assurances that they will be invited to the table regardless of the election results, why should they have taken the chance and participated in the elections. They had nothing to gain and everything to lose. Clearly, they are encouraging the terrorists in order to improve their bargaining position. Let's not forget that they hope that a quick American exit means Sunni reconquest to the great relief of the rest of the regional governing elite, if not their long suffering people.
It's time to change strategy.

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