U.S., Maliki Regime Blow Deadline on Security Agreement
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The media recently showed some interest in the story of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki calling for a U.S. withdrawal, sort of. Of course, they never include in their analyses that Iraq has a parliamentary system, Maliki is not the "president," and a majority in the Iraqi parliament have been pressing for a withdrawal for two years now.
That's a problem with establishing an artifice of democracy without real sovereignty -- those elected don't always behave like one wants. Maliki is between a rock and a hard place: he is the titular head of what is known by Iraqis as the "Green Zone Government," has very little legitimacy and relies on U.S. troops to stay in power. But, overwhelming majorities of Iraqis -- across the political spectrum, and from every ethic and sectarian group -- want the U.S. out, and soon.
The long-term cooperation agreement that's been in the works for some time contains provisions that are unacceptable for most Iraqis, like immunity from prosecution not only for U.S. troops but also for the often trigger-happy foreign mercenaries that litter Iraq. But Maliki -- and Bush, McCain and/or Obama (who apprears intent on continuing the occupation, regardless of his rhetorical stance) -- need some legal cover. What to do?
When reading the following, keep in mind that it's arguably a violation of the Iraqi Constitution for the Maliki regime to renew the UN mandate without the approval of the parliament, the parliament won't accept a renewal without a definite timetable for withdraw, and yet Maliki and Bush have treated the Constitution with all the reverence of toilet paper not once but twice in the past two years (for details, see the piece I wrote with Raed Jarrar the last time the mandate was renewed).
Anyway, this is from Xinua:
Iraq and the United States have failed to meet their deadline of a long-term security deal and turn to work on some "bridge agreement" that would set a framework for U.S. troops presence in Iraq after 2008.
The deadline of July 31, put forward last November by Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and U.S. President George W. Bush, has passed without signing the long-awaited pact, though U.S. officials declared repeatedly both countries were close to conclude the deal.
Both countries intended to reach the security agreement by the deadline, but the proposed agreement had always been under fire from U.S. congressmen to Iraq's anti-U.S. cleric Muqtada al-Sadr and Iran.
The United States and Iraq were working on two pieces of agreement, one is the Strategic Framework Agreement (SFA) and the other is Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA), the U.S. embassy in Baghdad said in a statement.
Joshua Holland is an editor and senior writer at AlterNet.