Yahoo! News – New Iraq Government Demands Authority on Security: “BLAIR CONFIDENT

British Prime Minister Tony Blair, President Bush’s closest ally on Iraq, said he believed any differences could be overcome and that a resolution would be passed soon.

‘I am reasonably optimistic that it will be done in a pretty short space of time,’ Blair told reporters in London.

U.S. and British officials would like a vote next week.

In Iraq, a rebel cleric agreed to new steps on Friday for his militia to stop fighting, and the top Shi’ite cleric Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani issued a vote of confidence in the new interim government. “

Ironically, sounds like there is more support from the Ayatollah Sistani for the newly formed government than that of France and Russia combined. Although the new Iraqi government wants more power over US troop presence, the U.N. envoy seems to be supporting just the opposite, in conflict with France and Russia who will apparently do their best to stymie U.S. military influence in the country going forward. This should evolve into an interesting political confrontation in the weeks and months ahead. — zzb