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Iraqi Shi'ite MPs Discuss Coalition With Top Cleric --> Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani (file photo) (AFP) December 23, 2006 -- Members of the United Iraqi Alliance, the Shi'ite coalition that dominates Iraq's parliament, met today with religious leaders in Al-Najaf to discuss a U.S.-backed plan to build a coalition including Sunnis and Kurds.

But the lawmakers said they failed to win support for the plan from Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the top Shi'ite cleric who holds strong influence over Shi'ite politics.

The politicians also met with radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, but failed to meet his main demand: a timetable for U.S. troops' withdrawal from Iraq.


RFE/RL Iraq Report

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