…and a heaping serving of ass for the President.

Posted: June 18, 2008 in Bush, lies, military, politics, war

Barely a month after Bush’s kissing cousins, the Saudis, told him to pound sand when it came to increasing oil output, his newly acquired client state, Iraq, is giving him the finger regarding his so-called “status of forces agreement”, or SOFA.

BBC News reports:

PM Nouri Maliki has said that talks with the US on a long-term agreement allowing US forces to remain in Iraq have “reached an impasse”.

Speaking in the Jordanian capital, Amman, Mr Maliki said the American demands infringed Iraqi sovereignty.

With the UN mandate for US forces to be in Iraq expiring at the end of 2008, the White House wants a deal by July.

The deadlock came as Mehdi Army leader Moqtada Sadr said only a select group of the militia should fight US forces.

In an apparent attempt to reassert control over the militia, the radical Shia cleric said only a limited number of the estimated 60,000-strong group should be authorised to battle US troops in Iraq.

Mr Sadr agreed to a truce after fighting erupted in Basra and Baghdad when the government launched a security crackdown against his militiamen in March.

But continued attacks blamed on Mehdi Army gunmen against Iraqi security forces have raised questions about how much control the cleric really exerts over the group.

Meanwhile, BBC Baghdad correspondent Nick Witchell says the disagreement between Mr Maliki and US negotiators goes to the heart of the immensely sensitive issue of who is actually in charge in the country: the Americans or the Iraqis.

The Americans are trying to negotiate a new Status of Forces agreement with the Iraqis.

‘Rejected totally’

But the Iraqi government regards many of the American demands as infringements of Iraqi sovereignty.

“We have reached an impasse, because when we opened these negotiations we did not realise that the US demands would so deeply affect Iraqi sovereignty and this is something we can never accept,” Mr Maliki said.

“We cannot allow US forces to have the right to jail Iraqis or assume, alone, the responsibility of fighting against terrorism,” he said.

The Americans want to maintain military bases and, it is reported, to keep control of Iraqi airspace.

They also want immunity from prosecution for their own forces and for US contractors, a proposal which Mr Maliki said Iraq “rejected totally”.

Mirembe Nantongo, a spokeswoman for the US embassy in Baghdad, said: “We remain hopeful, as do our Iraqi government partners, regarding a successful conclusion to these negotiations.”

More than five years after the US-led invasion of Iraq, there are 150,000 US troops based in the country.

At issue in this agreement are several key points, all of which are of grave concern to the fledgling Iraqi government.  In a nutshell, Bush wants American troops and contractors to be able to operate at will within Iraq and without consulting the Iraqi government, and also with immunity from prosecution under Iraqi law.  He also wants to establish several (some rumors say 50 or more) permanent bases within Iraq, something the government of Iraq is strongly opposed to.

Basically, the question is one of Iraqi sovereignty.  Did we truly liberate Iraq so they could govern themselves?  I believe that the invasion of Iraq resulted in the liberation of the people of Iraq.  The end game was horribly bungled, and the results are obvious.  We are six years into an occupation that wasn’t supposed to happen, of a country we supposedly didn’t want to colonize and annex, and our credibility is in the toilet as a result.

Perhaps even worse, if this odious agreement is approved over the objections of the al-Maliki government, it will hand the next president a giant, festering pile of fetid feces to deal with, and create exactly the conditions guaranteed to incite extremists in Iraq to greater acts of violence against our troops.

Let’s hope this plan gets derailed, and soon.

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