Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Bush may not get Iraq deal this year

The United Nations mandate authorising the presence of U.S.-led forces in Iraq following the 2003 invasion expires at the end of December 2008.

(FACTBOX-Iraq's thorny negotiations with US / Bush administration says it may not get Iraq deal this year)

The United States is negotiating new agreements with Iraq, covering such issues as how long US troops stay in Iraq.

In the USA, Democrats complain that the agreement on U.S. forces could lock the United States into a long-term military presence in Iraq.

Many Iraqis, including cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, see the agreement as a surrender of Iraq's sovereignty to an occupying force. They complain it could pave the way for a permanent U.S. troop presence in Iraq.

The Iraqi government has made clear it does not see eye-to-eye with the Bush administration on the agreements.

Photo - Iraq was once controlled by the British.

Patrick Cockburn, in The Independent, 5 June 2008, tells us of US plans to stay in Iraq.

Revealed: Secret plan to keep Iraq under US control

"A secret deal being negotiated in Baghdad would perpetuate the American military occupation of Iraq indefinitely, regardless of the outcome of the US presidential election in November."

The terms of the deal, leaked to The Independent, are as follows:

1. US troops would have more than 50 permanent bases in Iraq.

2. US troops would be able to conduct military operations, arrest Iraqis and enjoy immunity from Iraqi law.

The deal 'would undercut pledges by the Democratic presidential nominee, Barack Obama, to withdraw US troops if he is elected president in November.'

The Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr has called on his followers to demonstrate against the agreement on the grounds that it removes Iraq's independence.

The Bush administration is conceding for the first time that the United States may not finish the security agreement with Iraq before President Bush leaves office.

The Bush administration says it may not get Iraq deal this year

Faced with stiff Iraqi opposition, it is "very possible" the U.S. may have to extend an existing U.N. mandate, said a senior administration official.

That would mean major decisions about how U.S. forces operate in Iraq could be left to the next president, including how much authority the U.S. must give Iraqis over military operations and how quickly any handover takes place.


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