Iraqi leaders upset over Arab League comments

Iraq's Shi'ite leaders expressed anger Thursday at criticism leveled against them by the top Arab League official, warning that such remarks could overshadow this weekend's regional conference to ease the security crisis in Iraq. Last weekend, the Arab League's secretary-general, Amr Moussa, suggested that Arab governments may take their recommendations on quelling the bloodshed in Iraq to the UN Security Council. In a statement Thursday, the United Iraqi Alliance, the major Shi'ite bloc in parliament, said Moussa's comments amounted to "flagrant interference in Iraq's internal affairs" and "ignored the march of the Iraqi people to build a free and democratic state." "At the same time we hope that the regional conference due to be held in Baghdad in March 10 will not be shadowed by such stands" and will not have a "negative impact" on efforts to resolve the Iraq crisis, the statement said.