AMMAN, Jordan (AP) – The leader of Iraq’s largest Shiite political party said in newspaper remarks published Sunday that terrorism was keeping foreign troops in the war-ravaged Arab country.
Abdul-Aziz al-Hakim, who heads both the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq and the governing United Iraqi Alliance, told Jordan’s ad-Dustour newspaper that former Iraqi Baathists and militants from inside and outside Iraq were behind the terrorism.
"There are three groups that practice violence, namely the remnants of the former regime, the Iraqi Takfiris and groups of Takfiris coming from outside our borders," al-Hakim said, referring to militants who adopt the policy of killing anybody they consider to be an infidel.
He said he has "information" that officers in the ousted regime of Saddam Hussein were cooperating closely with Jordanian-born terrorist Abu-Musab al-Zarqawi, al-Qaida’s point man in Iraq. They "provide Abu-Musab al-Zarqawi’s group with information and logistical support to execute terrorist operations," al-Hakim said without elaborating.
"It is important to work on ending the justifications for the presence of foreign troops in Iraq, and terrorism is the justification for the sojourn and continuity of these forces," he said.
Al-Hakim also accused the United States of blocking Iraq’s purchase of undisclosed "heavy weaponry."
He said progress has been achieved in rebuilding the Iraqi security forces, which will confront "terrorism" and uphold Iraq’s security.
"I’m confident that we will achieve victory over the terrorists, virtually removing the justification for the existence of foreign troops."