Nuri al-Badran, a Shi’ite Muslim, said he wanted to quit from the Iraq Governing Council to maintain a balance of Iraq’s religious groups on the Cabinet.
But the news came as a bitter blow to US administrator to Iraq Paul Bremer, who said al-Badran’s removal would only cause an imbalance and he would not let him go.
His resignation comes as US-led coalition forces are battling an uprising across the south by a Shiite militia led by radical cleric Moqtada Sadr.
Lt Gen Sanchez acknowledged that the al-Mahdi Army militia, led by Sadr, had full control over the city of Kut and partial control in Najaf. Ukrainian troops were forced to withdraw from their bases in Kut yesterday.
Militiamen also control Kufa, holding police stations and government buildings in the town, according to residents.
US allies, though, are resisting pressure to pull out of Iraq, where some of the fiercest fighting since Baghdad was captured Saddam Hussein toppled one year ago rages on.