At a time when most Americans are self-absorbed and desperately concerned with electing a new president, the subject of Iraq is far from the forefront of their thinking, or for that matter, of the media’s.
Only last week, the present US incumbent announced he was confident of reaching agreement with the Iraqi government over the status of US troops in that nation, after the end of this year when the present agreement expires.
Confident enough, it would appear, to threaten Maliki’s legislature with withdrawal of all economic and military support, if it fails to comply with the demands of the Bush administration. Blackmail is also on the table, to the sum of $16 billion dollars:
This, from ISP:
“The threat by the George W. Bush administration last week to withdraw all economic and military support from the Iraqi government if it does not accept the U.S.-Iraq status of forces agreement has raised the stakes in the political-diplomatic struggle over the issue.
However, most Iraqi politicians are now so averse to any formal legitimisation of the U.S. military presence — and particularly of extraterritorial legal rights over U.S. troops in the country — that even that threat is unlikely to save the pact.
For most Iraqis the agreement is all too reminiscent of the unequal security agreement that gave military rights to British imperialism in Iraq from 1930 to 1958. The symbolism of foreign domination inherent in that historical parallel makes it risky for political party leaders and members of parliament to be seen as going along with any agreement that provides special privileges to the United States.
In a move reflecting a new sense of desperation that has overtaken U.S. officials, Gen. Ray Odierno, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, warned Iraqi officials that they would lose a total of 16 billion dollars in assistance for the economy and Iraqi security forces unless the agreement is approved by parliament, according to a story by McClatchy newspapers reporter Leil Fadel Sunday.” Read more….
Apparently, George W Bush isn’t quite so confident as he intimated.
There are strong moves afoot in Iraq to hold out against further concessions to what is viewed by the majority as nothing more than a US military occupation. Maliki is undoubtedly delaying as long as possible in the hope of obtaining a more productive agreement with a new president, particularly if that president is Barack Obama, whose plans for Iraqi withdrawal are more in line with the Iraqi government’s own thinking.
Meanwhile, in Iraq, unrest against the agreement is growing.
This from ‘Azzaman.Com’, an Iraqi newspaper:
The U.S. has little favor among Iraqis due to the pain and hardships its invasion of their country has caused.
Consequently, almost all Iraqis interviewed by this newspaper were adamantly against the signing of the proposed security agreement with the U.S. The few who wanted the pact to pass, asked the government for substantial revisions that will give U.S. troops none of the privileges they now enjoy.
“It (the agreement) is totally rejected by the Iraqi people because it violates the country’s sovereignty and lengthens the stay of occupation troops,” said Kareem Khafaji, a high school teacher.
If signed, he warned, the agreement “will bring about uncalculated consequences. The country cannot afford signing such a pact,” he added.
Abdulrahman Abdullah, a political science specialist, said he saw nothing in the security agreement that looked after Iraqi national interests.” Read more…..
Reading this, there are some who might consider the tide to be turning against the US military in Iraq. The truth, of course, is that the tide never ebbed. George Bush’s “surge” merely acted as a levee.
It may not be very long before that levee is dramatically breached.
Filed under: Bush’s levee problems