Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
October 14, 2008

The Dead SOFA

The Status of Force Agreement (SOFA) the U.S. negotiates with Iraq seems to be dead. As Leila Fadel reports from Baghdad:

Time's running out for reaching a security agreement with the U.S., and an accord is unlikely before the end of this year, Iraq's Sunni Muslim vice president said Monday.

The United Nations mandate that authorizes the U.S. military presence in Iraq will expire on Dec. 31 and without a so-called status of forces agreement, it's questionable whether the U.S. will have a legitimate right to maintain its troops in Iraq, Vice President Tariq al Hashimi told McClatchy.

Maliki tells the London Times that British troops are no longer needed in Iraq. But he seems to be more optimistic on the SOFA than al Hashimi:

Mr al-Maliki hopes that the pact with the US will be approved by the end of the year. Failure to do so would force him to ask the UN to extend its mandate for all foreign troops to stay in Iraq.

But if Maliki really wants a SOFA why has he changed the approval process?

Maliki’s government turned the political procedures around, instead of passing the final document to the Presidential Council to approve the final document and then passing it to the parliament, a political decision issued today that the parliament should approves the final document before passing it to the Presidential Council.
...
Turning this process around means more delay since the parliament is divided on SOFA’s approval and that can takes months before the parl. Members can reach “something” and all that time SOFA is still on halt and invalid. This allows Maliki to buy more time.

That decision was probably made on urging by Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, whom Maliki visited last week.

The U.S. is looking into alternatives:

One possibility is an extension of the United Nations mandate that expires at the end of the year. That would require a Security Council vote that both governments believe could be complicated by Russia or others opposed to the U.S.-led war. Another alternative would amount to a simple handshake agreement between Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and President Bush to leave things as they are until a new deal, under a new U.S. administration, can be negotiated.

I doubt that Maliki will agree to a simple handshake on this, or that the U.S. could accept the legal insecurity that would come with it. The path through the UN is not without problems as it would continue to restrict Iraq's sovereignty. If that path fails too, there is a third alternative Maliki tells the Times:

"If that happens, according to the international law, Iraqi law and American law, the US forces will be confined to their bases and have to withdraw from Iraq."

My hunch is that this last alternative is exactly what Maliki wants. 

How will the U.S. react to it?

Posted by b on October 14, 2008 at 12:00 UTC | Permalink

Comments

Do you really believe that the U.S. occupation forces will simply leave Iraq because SOFA is at it's end? We have expended way to much time and money just to leave. And our government has only honored one treaty since the end of WWII. I believe that the cowboy mentality of "we don't need no stinky treaty" to stay in Iraq will be the prevailing mindset. Be it as it may whatever Maliki wants don't start hoping for an exit just because of this one hurdle. I hope that I'm wrong but I don't see it coming.
E

Posted by: | Oct 14 2008 12:12 utc | 1

Weather the U.S. listens or not depends on what threat Maliki has to back up his politics. Can he credibly threaten a renewed Shiite based insurgency? If so, then the U.S. would much rather leave gracefully on good terms and be able to claim respect for Iraqi sovereignty. I don't think anyone wants a renewed war while Afghanistan flares up (not to mention Pakistan) and a new Great Depression stares us in the face.

If, on the other hand, the US. does not believe Maliki can fight, then they will not leave. And if fighting then starts there will be a constituency demanding that the U.S. *NOT* leave under pressure.

Posted by: Lysander | Oct 14 2008 13:23 utc | 2

The other alternative is for the US to stage a Green Zone coup and disband the parliament. The new prime minister ("democratic" but unelected) would sign whatever Bush wants. Several years of chaos would ensue, justifying a continued, massive US troop presence. It's a mind boggling, reckless scenario, but totally in keeping with the way Bush and the neocons operate.

Posted by: JohnH | Oct 14 2008 14:22 utc | 3

Well, it seems to me that Maliki has done a superb job of stringing this whole process out.....there will be no SOFA with the Bush administration.

The whole thing gets VERY awkward once the UN mandate expires in December - my best guess is that there will be a one-year extension ( the Iranians will be extremely happy with this ) during which the presumptive incoming Obama administration can "extricate" US forces. Some sort of "rump" agreement will be concluded in December 2009.

Lysander - its the US that has to make the threats, not Maliki. At the end of the day, if the Iraqis say that it's time to leave then there is no real alternative. It's not so much that the Iraqis can literally force them out overnight, but there's no US appetite for a return to the levels of violence that prevailed before the Spring of this year; leaving isn't going to be a hard sell to an incoming Obama administration that will be straitjacketed by fiscal austerity measures.

If McCain is elected and tries to tough things out, Sistani simply produces the fatwa that he's had in his back pocket for the past 5 years, and makes it clear that the US presence is no longer tolerable.

In the final analysis: Iran has religious/cultural/political influence in Iraq, whilst the US has an ( increasingly exhausted )army. The soft-power player has prevailed.

Posted by: dan | Oct 14 2008 14:29 utc | 4

JohnH

There have been rumours of Green Zone coups for a number of years now - they've mostly been psyops to get Jafaari, and then Maliki, to be more "tractable". The psyops hasn't had much success beyond the enrichment of US military contractors.

In the real world, there is no chance of such a coup now - the collapse in US legitimacy would have immediate catastrophic results, and the long-term diplo-political fallout would be "unknowable" but unpleasant to say the least - it's hard to see how the UNSC could survive the trashing of a UN mandate by the power delegated to enforce it.

The Bush administration expires in less than 3 weeks, and is currently consumed with domestic crises that will dominate all other agendas for months to come.

Posted by: dan | Oct 14 2008 14:43 utc | 5

I guess Maliki is banking on an Obama win:

Barack Obama and Joe Biden believe we must be as careful getting out of Iraq as we were careless getting in. Immediately upon taking office, Obama will give his Secretary of Defense and military commanders a new mission in Iraq: ending the war. The removal of our troops will be responsible and phased, directed by military commanders on the ground and done in consultation with the Iraqi government. Military experts believe we can safely redeploy combat brigades from Iraq at a pace of 1 to 2 brigades a month that would remove them in 16 months. That would be the summer of 2010 – more than 7 years after the war began.

Under the Obama-Biden plan, a residual force will remain in Iraq and in the region to conduct targeted counter-terrorism missions against al Qaeda in Iraq and to protect American diplomatic and civilian personnel. They will not build permanent bases in Iraq, but will continue efforts to train and support the Iraqi security forces as long as Iraqi leaders move toward political reconciliation and away from sectarianism.

Posted by: Dismal Science | Oct 14 2008 14:50 utc | 6

Our presence in Iraq has always defied common sense, empirical analysis, real world thinking. Yet we are there. There are reasons beyond the obvious ones against for remaining there. Containing Iran is one of them. Protecting Israel and Saudia Arabia are others, though these aren't talked about.

Posted by: seneca | Oct 14 2008 15:40 utc | 7

other iraq news

President Barzani receives VP Abdel Mahdi and Ambassador Croker in Baghdad

President Barzani also received the U.S Ambassador in Iraq Ryan Croker and Ambassador David Satterfield along with a delegation from the U.S embassy in Baghdad.

They discussed the future of the political process in Iraq and another number of key issues among them: the ongoing discussions on the Iraqi-U.S Pact and the political and government situation in Iraq.

Iraq's Oil Minister Hussein al-Shahristani met officials from 35 oil companies in London Monday

He said Iraq wants deals to be in place in June, to help the war-torn country get its oil sector back up and running without further delay.

Shahristani said the government would maintain 51 percent control of projects with foreign energy companies to rehabilitate the six oil fields already producing crude, and two natural gas fields yet to be developed.

Posted by: annie | Oct 14 2008 15:49 utc | 8

maliki is kicking cheney in the balls

Posted by: annie | Oct 14 2008 15:59 utc | 9

The proposed SOFA is not "a security agreement with the U.S.", as it should be, but a security agreement (treaty) with the Bush administration. As a treaty it should be considered by not only the Iraqi parliament, but also the US Senate according to the Constitution. The US has in effect exported its democracy and doesn't have any left.

Bush is calling this proposed treaty a SOFA because historically SOFAs have been treated as an executive prerogative which don't require the advice and consent of the Senate. But calling it a SOFA doesn't make it so. A SOFA merely defines the legal status of US troops, not the duration of their occupation.

According to the DOD Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms a status-of-forces agreement is: "An agreement that defines the legal position of a visiting military force deployed in the territory of a friendly state. Agreements delineating the status of visiting military forces may be bilateral or multilateral. Provisions pertaining to the status of visiting forces may be set forth in a separate agreement, or they may form a part of a more comprehensive agreement. These provisions describe how the authorities of a visiting force may control members of that force and the amenability of the force or its members to the local law or to the authority of local officials. Also called SOFA."

Posted by: Don Bacon | Oct 14 2008 16:28 utc | 10

The proposed SOFA is not "a security agreement with the U.S.", as it should be, but a security agreement (treaty) with the Bush administration. As a treaty it should be considered by not only the Iraqi parliament, but also the US Senate according to the Constitution. The US has in effect exported its democracy and doesn't have any left.

Bush is calling this proposed treaty a SOFA because historically SOFAs have been treated as an executive prerogative which don't require the advice and consent of the Senate. But calling it a SOFA doesn't make it so. A SOFA merely defines the legal status of US troops, not the duration of their occupation.

According to the DOD Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms a status-of-forces agreement is: "An agreement that defines the legal position of a visiting military force deployed in the territory of a friendly state. Agreements delineating the status of visiting military forces may be bilateral or multilateral. Provisions pertaining to the status of visiting forces may be set forth in a separate agreement, or they may form a part of a more comprehensive agreement. These provisions describe how the authorities of a visiting force may control members of that force and the amenability of the force or its members to the local law or to the authority of local officials. Also called SOFA."

Posted by: Don Bacon | Oct 14 2008 16:29 utc | 11

DB,

An agreement that defines the legal position of a visiting military force deployed in the territory of a friendly state.

The USA can get around that by declaring Iraq an "unfirndly state". I mean, what kind of friends turn down the sort of help they are being offered?

Posted by: ralphieboy | Oct 14 2008 16:54 utc | 12

"And our government has only honored one treaty since the end of WWII." E, just curious, which one was that? As far as I know the US has never honored ANY treaties it's ever signed, going all the way back to the beginning. I certainly agree with you though that the US policy will be "we don't need no stinking treaties." The Democrats and Republicans couldn't care less about the law. The law is just a tool for them to use to get what they want, to be ignored if it gets in the way.

Posted by: mike | Oct 14 2008 19:57 utc | 13

Well to touch back on something I have been thinking about for a while. The solution will be contained in the resurrection of the G-8. The big stick USuk have been exercising for the past month of excluding Russia from all discussion on the parlous state of the world's financial system is hitting USuk hard maybe even more than Russia. eg the knee jerk Gordon Brown treatment of Iceland confiscating it's assets under anti-terror legislation may make brown feel like he's a big swinging dick for a while but the english courts reaction (they hate the anti terror stuff and kick it into touch whenever the opportunity presents) will have him groping for the magnifying glasses and tweezers again.

So Russia will be offered a seat back in the G-8 by the Obama administration, on condition that they allow a security council extension.
Medvedev will go along although europeans may not be too happy if he secures a deal to recover some of the money lost to amerikan entrepreneur ism conman scams, by jacking up hydrocarbon prices. Maybe that's not possible but Russia will want everything bar the kitchen sink to agree to a one year extension, amerika has little choice but to agree, and Russia will probably go along with it if the messages to them from Baghdad and Tehran are in agreement.

None of this will be presented in such a bald fashion of course. The rapprochement will be slower and far more obtuse than what I have suggested, but the sub-text of the new relationships under Obama will be something like that.

Maliki has other issues. The payments to the awakening councils have been made the responsibility of the Maliki government, but there is no sign of that administration being given funding to fulfil that task. This is a hangover from the CheneyCorp attempt to put Maliki's balls in a vise to get the SOFA and oil deals signed asap.
Cheney is too focused on his own greed soaked priorities to understand that Maliki's testes are already firmly in the clasp of peeps much more capable and ruthless than CheneyCorp could ever hope to become. The Iranians and Iraqi Shia leaders whose goodwill Maliki needs to draw each new breath don't give a toss about the money issue. In one way it is a good thing as it gives them an excuse not to pay, something they had no intention of doing anyhow. As far as they are concerned the only thing going to the 'saddamists' should be death, and what better time to do it when the amerikans have the incumbent Iraqi power brokers' backs.

They know that this will be their last opportunity to fight the old Iraqi leadership - the former Baathist supporters, before that group reaches an arrangement with Moqtada al-Sadr, an arrangement which could overwhelm their own power base.

Because amerika has lost any initiative, it finds itself playing catch-up. There is no way Maliki is going to relinquish the prerogative to show amerikan forces the door until he is certain that his power will endure. Having the amerikan forces there on Maliki's terms means that those forces can be used to 'mop up' any potential opponents.

As for the oil deal, well it has never been in the interests of any Iraqi to sign control of Iraq's key piece over to anyone, certainly not someone pointing a gun at their head. Amerika's only chance of getting that deal was straight after the invasion, but they were outwitted by Sistani, who played the democracy card against the self styled masters of the democracy game.

Cheney may have been smart enough to outwit sleek washington pols and fat assed corporate c*nts, but he stood no chance against the leaders of an ancient civilisation who have been politicking each other since they were dragged off the tit. Iraq/Mesopotamia has managed to survive for millennia jammed up against the much larger and more powerful Iran/Persian state.

If these guys weren't good at what they do Iraq would have become a part of Persia long before c columbus mistook Havana for Goa.

Posted by: Debs is dead | Oct 14 2008 20:16 utc | 14

Iran is a big part of any decisions that Maliki makes, particularly after Iran's help against Sadr. Maliki's Badr brigades were trained in Iran, and Maliki lived in Iran for eight years during his exile. The two countries share trade and religious centers, and a stable Iraq free of US occupation is in Iran's interest.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Oct 14 2008 20:48 utc | 15

"If that happens, according to the international law, Iraqi law and American law, the US forces will be confined to their bases and have to withdraw from Iraq."


Let's not forget that John Negroponte--State's #2, and a man whose diplomatic skills I happen to admire--dropped in on Baghdad two weeks ago, expressly to close the SOFA deal with Maliki. Who's to say that he failed? Who's to say what understanding (if any) they may have reached?

In my own view (merely speculative), Negroponte went to Baghdad to establish precisely the deal spelled out above. It will further tie Maliki to the US, and it will enable the U.S. military to reduce its ruinous involvement in the kind of warfare waged for the past five years.

Of course this only makes sense in the context of State's endless war with Cheney and the neocons, who are undoubtedly pulling every possible string compelling Maliki to sign that bad accord.

But the internal operations of the Bush Administration have been marked by a Civil War for the past six years; the fact that both Cheney and Rice might be fighting each other through negotiations with a third (and foreign) party should not surprise us.

And let's remember: Aghanistan doesn't exist for Cheney. It has no oil reserves.

Posted by: alabama | Oct 15 2008 0:11 utc | 16

"And our government has only honored one treaty since the end of WWII."

Perhaps it wasn't a treaty as per say a signed documentation but I was referring to the Kennedy Khrushchev agreement on Cuba. We have kept our promise to stay away and the Russians have also abided by the agreement and have kept nukes out of that country. Not that in the long term it made any difference, but we have for the most part completely left it alone.
E

Posted by: | Oct 15 2008 0:46 utc | 17

alabama Aghanistan doesn't exist for Cheney. It has no oil reserves.

no, but it has the real estate for that pipeline.

i think you're ahead of yourself w/your take on negroponte's latest mission. i think it was more likely tied w/the predictions of more and more political hit jobs, assassinations, car bombings w/special little triggers(or whatever you want to call them)..ie, threat of more sectarian violence , a reenactment of earlier times. that's negropontes specialty isn't it?

a man whose diplomatic skills I happen to admire

i remember, you met him and i recall the debates about this man. still, i find it highly unlikely NOT signing the sofa is any plan the US cooked up, or is pleased about. hell, why have one, they could just friggin exit and announce all's well from the surge. mission accomplished yada yada.

Posted by: annie | Oct 15 2008 1:32 utc | 18

annie caused a flashback there with her comments about Negroponts. It was February 22, 2006 when four assailants detonated explosive devices inside the Shiite Askariya (Golden Dome) Mosque, collapsing the dome and damaging the mosque's north wall. Reacting to this attack, on 22 and 23 February 2006, throughout Iraq, assailants attacked at least 184 Sunni mosques with grenades, small arms, mortars, and rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs), killing 12 Sunni imams and seven Sunni civilian worshippers, kidnapping 14 Sunni imams, and causing substantial damage to many of the mosques. This kicked off the Sunni/Shiite civil war which has been the continuing rationale for the US military presence in Iraq.

Of course al-Qaeda was blamed, but wait a minute. The US military curfew in Samarra, tightly cordoned off from outside entrance, started at 8pm. On February 21st, at 8:30pm, according to a witness, joint forces of the Iraq National Guard and the American Army appeared, then left at 9, then reappeared at 11pm. At 6am on the morning of the 22nd the ING left the area, and at 6:30 the Americans left. The first explosion occurred at 6:40, the second at 6:45.am. At least two witnesses saw "unusual activities by the ING [Iraqi National Guard] in the area around the mosque." Two mosque guards reported four men in ING uniforms had blindfolded them and planted explosives.

Construction Minister Jassem Mohammed Jaafar, who toured Sammara and inspected the damage incurred to the shrine, said the placing of explosives inside the dome was meticulous and must have taken at least 12 hours. "Holes were dug into the mausoleum's four main pillars and packed with explosives," he told the media, adding that work on each pillar must have taken at least four hours.

In 2007, according to news reports, The US Deputy Secretary of State reportedly planned a subsequent attack on the holy Shia shrines in Samarra to help topple the Iraqi (Maliki) government.

On January 14, 2005, Newsweek reported on “The Salvador Option,” the proposed use of death squads as part of the U.S. strategy to subdue the country. A U.S. military source told Newsweek, “The Sunni population is paying no price for the support it is giving to the terrorists. From their point of view, it is cost-free. We have to change that equation.” As ambassador to Honduras, Negroponte played a key role in US aid to the Contra death squads in Nicaragua and in shoring up the brutal military dictatorship of General Gustavo Alvarez Martinez in Honduras.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Oct 15 2008 4:25 utc | 19

#19....“The Sunni population is paying no price for the support it is giving to the terrorists. From their point of view, it is cost-free. We have to change that equation.”

If that were the intent then, it certainly did set into motion the ethnic cleansing of Baghdad that took place later that summer with the joint U.S./ISF operation Forward Together. When the "civil war" reached its height, in the number of casualties at exactly the same time. And since that time, following the cleansing in Baghdad and its various militias (insurgency) roll over into the awakening, the equation has most definitely changed. It will probably be one of the great ironies of this war, that the plight of the Sunni insurgency against the U.S. occupation having been de-fanged by the joint efforts of the U.S. military, the Badr infested ISF, and the Mahdi Army have been left with the task themselves, of expelling the occupation that enabled their will to power. If the long awaited oil legislation is any indication, the Maliki administration will simply stall the occupation to death on legal grounds. And all the million dead and walking dead will have been for naught, unless of course, you're of Iranian orientation, in which case, the phrase "God willing" has taken on a whole new dimension.

Posted by: anna missed | Oct 15 2008 6:00 utc | 20

... i find it highly unlikely NOT signing the sofa is any plan the US cooked up, or is pleased about. hell, why have one, they could just friggin exit and announce all's well from the surge. mission accomplished yada yada...


Then as now, annie, I've had my doubts about a monolithic "US", or a "they" (as in "they could just friggin exit"), but my doubts (if they have any pertinence or validity) remain very hard to document, and the rifts (if any there be) are hard to track.

Yes, the neocons have disappeared from the DoD, but what does this actually mean? Yes, the FBI has a strong record of opposing torture in Guantanamo, but what does this finally yield? Yes, I've taken the Plame case as an instance of this rift from the start (mid-July '03), but have I simply indulged in wishful thinking? So too with the smoke swirling around the SOFA for the past two years.

Only the hypothesis of these rifts would allow for the idea that elements in the Administration are actually negotiating with Maliki against contending elements in the Administration. And even if this idea is entertained, it remains a very strange one. Not unthinkable, perhaps, but almost incredible. Almost incredible. It could quickly be dismissed by the publication of the meeting's minutes ....

I only threw in the crack about Cheney because I think he hates the idea of redeploying troops from Iraq to Afghanistan. Has he said a single word on the subject? Not to my knowledge, if so. Another somewhat improbable hypothesis, therefore.

Don Bacon, there was a nice shootout in this bar on the subject of Negroponte four or five years ago. Were we using cap guns? Blanks? Bad aiming, perhaps? So far as I can tell, no one got shot in the process.

Posted by: alabama | Oct 15 2008 9:30 utc | 21

No one got shot in the process? What a waste.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Oct 15 2008 14:20 utc | 22

Yes, the neocons have disappeared from the DoD

i seriously doubt it. frumm (AIE) reported on maddows show he just returned from afghanistan. my 8 link

President Barzani also received the U.S Ambassador in Iraq Ryan Croker and Ambassador David Satterfield along with a delegation from the U.S embassy in Baghdad.

satterfield, he's about as neonuts as they come. an agent of aipac. nyt:

U.S. Diplomat Is Named in Secrets Case

WASHINGTON, Aug. 17 - The second-highest diplomat at the United States Embassy in Baghdad is one of the anonymous government officials cited in an Aug. 4 indictment as having provided classified information to an employee of a pro-Israel lobbying group, people who have been officially briefed on the case said Wednesday. Skip to next paragraph Enlarge This Image Max Becherer/Polaris, for The New York Times

David M. Satterfield, deputy chief of the United States mission in Baghdad, is accused of giving classified information to a pro-Israel lobbyist.
Related Text: The Indictment

The diplomat, David M. Satterfield, was identified in the indictment as a United States government official, "USGO-2," the people briefed on the matter said. In early 2002, USGO-2 discussed secret national security matters in two meetings with Steven J. Rosen, who has since been dismissed as a top lobbyist for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, known as Aipac, who has been charged in the case.

meanwhile, he's meeting w/brazini the same day brazini is meeting w/the prez of turkey and and also meeting w/officials from the baghdad contigency. now why would that be? because if the sofa is in question who's going to be on team kurdistan/separate states? meanwhile, as b has documented we have another killing in mosel and the recent reports of kurdish militias killing christiansd in mosel. mosel being a region that the kurds want to usurp.

the neocons are still in charge. no doubt about that.

cheney doesn't make a habit of promoting his designs, unless he deems it necessary, he's got munchkins for that.USGO2

Posted by: annie | Oct 15 2008 17:21 utc | 23

oops, that last 'USGO' somehow got stuck on the page after my google search.

Posted by: annie | Oct 15 2008 17:27 utc | 24

my point is the wording of the sofa draft delivered by the US is likely drawn up by addington or bearing pt or their ilk, the neocons.

the military is a different story, their job is to carry this stuff out and the chance they are in on the loop of all the shinanigans wrt mercenaries blackwater types or covert cia types or whatever..who says all this stuff is coordinated w/the militarys knowledge and understanding. the chances a guy like satterfield is going to have his job in an obama administration is zilch imho. the entire AEI can get flushed down the toilet for all i care. i want these guys out, finito, NO MORE NEOCONS. negroponte is a henchman, he'll work where ever he's needed. everywhere he goes assassinations follow.

that's my opinion anyway.

Posted by: annie | Oct 15 2008 17:36 utc | 25

E, (#1)

And our government has only honored one treaty since the end of WWII.

I imagine you are referring to after Hiroshima and Nagazaki, they have (so far) honoured the 'treaty' not to drop any more nuclear bombs?

Or are you referring to the 'treaty' 'not to honour any treaty'; that treaty has indeed been exceptionally honoured!!

Seriously, what treaty are you referring to?

JMCSwan

Posted by: Francis Martin | Oct 15 2008 18:21 utc | 26

Iraq's al-Sadr Urges Rejection of US-Iraqi Deal

Iraqi Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr has called on Iraq's parliament to reject a security agreement with the United States, as tens of thousands of his supporters rallied in Baghdad against the deal.
...
A Sadr aide read aloud a statement from the influential cleric, who urged Iraqi lawmakers not to vote for the proposed security deal. He said the agreement will not end the presence of U.S. troops in Iraq, and will not give sovereignty to the Iraqi people.

Posted by: b | Oct 18 2008 14:55 utc | 27

Sofa's misleading translation words

Green Zone newspaper Al-Sabaah reported that the political Council noted three remarks stand as obstacles in the final draft of the agreement. Two remarks are already well-known 1) Soldiers immunity 2) timetable for the withdrawal.

The third is an interesting one:

The translation issues, some of the words lose their meaning in translation from Arabic to English and vice versa.

Posted by: annie | Oct 18 2008 16:48 utc | 28

my last link also asserts What western media doesn’t tell you about today’s demonstration about the high-rank Christian and Sunni representatives show their rejection to the security agreement.

iow, this is being framed as primarily a sadr movement. not true.


One lawmaker who attended the meeting said there were discussions for and against the draft and that two Shiite parties boycotted the session. He spoke on condition of anonymity because the discussions were confidential.
But several Sunni and Shiite clerics, who wield considerable influence in shaping public opinion, spoke out Friday against the draft, complaining that the Iraqi public knows little about the terms.

.....

“The agreement that is supposed to be signed between Iraq and the U.S. is more dangerous than the occupation,” Sheik Abdul-Sattar Abdul-Jabar told the congregation in Baghdad’s Abu Hanifa mosque, the most prestigious Sunni shrine in the capital.

“It is illegal and the government should not sign it,” Abdul-Jabar said. “The government should get the approval of the Iraqi people through a popular referendum.”

...

“There is no national unanimity about it,” al-Qubanji said.

Al-Qubanji’s noncommittal remarks were significant because he is associated with the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council, the biggest Shiite party and al-Maliki’s partner in the government. It holds 30 of the 275 seats in parliament that al-Maliki needs to ensure a strong majority vote on the agreement.

But the Supreme Council has not announced a stand on the agreement, a move party members say was designed to distance it from the prime minister in case the deal meets significant opposition.

on blaming iran

In an interview published Monday in the Washington Post, Gen. Ray Odierno, who took command of the U.S.-led coalition last month, said U.S. intelligence reports indicated Iran has tried to bribe Iraqi lawmakers to derail the agreement, which must be approved by parliament before the U.N. mandate expires at the end of the year.

The American commander has risked his position when he spoke in this tone and has regrettably complicated relations,” al-Maliki told visiting Kuwaiti journalists Thursday. “How can he speak like this about a baseless allegation? What has been said is truly regrettable.”

Odierno and U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker met Talabani on Friday and al-Ani, the presidential spokesman, said he understood that Odierno has offered an apology.

The U.S. military did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Posted by: annie | Oct 18 2008 17:12 utc | 29

cnn has as it is its habitude - profound difficulty with number
sub headlines 'thousand protest sofa' - where any footage clearly show hundreds of thousands'
whereas it also
subheadlines 'thousands at halders funeral' when it is clear from footage it is the high hundreds

they might do well to hire someone who can count

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Oct 18 2008 17:49 utc | 30

Twisting the knife after stabbing the SOFA: Iraq Shiite party wants amendments in US-Iraq pact

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's ruling Shiite alliance said Sunday that parts of the draft security agreement that would keep U.S. troops here for three more years needs more discussion and amendments before it can be approved.

The statement by the United Iraqi Alliance did not spell out which parts of the deal it wanted changed. It said some portions were positive but others need more time "for discussion, dialogue and to amend some of its articles."
...
The alliance, which includes al-Maliki's Dawa Party and the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council, holds 85 of parliament's 275 seats. Al-Maliki needs solid support from his alliance if he expects to win approval of the agreement by a strong majority.

Which he doesn't expect ...

Posted by: b | Oct 19 2008 15:07 utc | 31

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