It’s the Turn of Iraqi Parliament

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Hamid Omidi

The occupation of Iraq has caught the United States in an imbroglio which has cost it thousands of lives of its army troops and almost 3000 billion dollars in war expenditures. Yet this is just a small portion of the US dilemma in the region. Following this occupation, the policies and strategies of the NeoCons at the White House faced repeated defeats and their credit before the American public opinion diminished considerably.

The victory of the Democratic candidates in the elections of the Senate and the House of Representatives as well as Barack Obama’s victory in the Democratic Party elections are among the consequences of the defeat of the Ruling Republicans in the war game in Iraq. Obama is trying to emerge as the eventual winner in the upcoming presidential elections against his Republic rival John McCaine by promising a US troop withdrawal from Iraq and by reiterating the deceitful policies of George Bush.

In the meantime, the warmongering triangle of Bush, Rice and Cheney is not sit idle and by managing the Iraqi crisis has tried to prevent more defeats for the US administration. Efforts by Bush and the NeoCons to sign a security cooperation agreement with Iraq are assessed in this very line. These days, the debates on Baghdad-Washington security accord as well as news around the agreement are the topic of the day. The United States has presented seven drafts for this agreement so far and at this stage has changed the draft based on its own interests. According to Iraqi sources, the last draft submitted to the officials of the country has 20 articles 4 of which are in favor of Iraq and the remaining 16 totally serve the interests of the US in Iraq and the region.

The agreement can be reviewed from several angles:

1.    The US, after the cold war and disintegration of the former Soviet Union, considered itself the lone rider superpower and by adopting unilateral policies has managed to ink security and military cooperation agreements in many parts of the world. In the Middle East too, the Arab sheikhdoms and the Persian Gulf littoral states have given in to such accords. This time too, the United States is trying to fulfill its domineering goals in Iraq through the same project – read colonialism.  These goals include US attempts to legitimize its occupation of Iraq and its military presence in the country; taking control of the Iraqi oil resources; creation of military bases particularly in Kurdish regions north of Iraq; reducing its dependence on Incirlik air base in Turkey and eventually conducting a geographical siege of Iran on its long borders with Iraq to follow up its interventionist policies in Iran’s neighborhood. The United States has formally earmarked huge amounts of money for a regime change in IRI and provided financial support to opposition groups inside and outside the country. Therefore, the presence of a permanent base near the Iranian border would be certainly very favorable to the Americans.

2.    On the other hand, the Baghdad-Washington security agreement can be regarded an outcome of pressures from the Zionist lobbies as well as American-Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). Border security of the Zionist regime and recognition of the regime by the regional countries are of vital importance to Israel. All the US presidents and even presidential hopefuls Barack Obama and John McCaine feel obliged to fully support Israel and security of the illegitimate regime. The US military presence in the Middle East and the security and military accords signed between Washington and certain regional states can – as a wishful thinking – comfort the Zionist regime against threats of Arab countries to some extent.

Unfortunately, the Arab states in the region with their neutral and sometimes partial policies vis-à-vis the Iraqi occupation by the US army and its allies pretend as though nothing was happening around them and think of nothing but their own interests and a longer presence in the power scene. The recent events in Pakistan, the crisis in the Caucasus and the war in Georgia clearly prove that the US would easily turn his back to its allies and that it is absolutely not a reliable power. These events should also serve as a good lesson for the countries supporting Washington in the region.

3.    After the occupation of Kuwait by Saddam Hussein more than 70 resolutions were issued demanding withdrawal of his troops from Kuwait but none of them were heeded by the Iraqi dictator. Among them was the UN Security Council Resolution 687 in 1991 under which the entire country (Iraq) and its sovereignty came under UN guardianship. In other words, Iraq lost its sovereignty. Therefore, legally speaking, Iraq would have no right to sign any agreement with independent states. In the negotiations between the US and Iraq, the Iraqi team is assigned by the government with no representatives of political parties and people present. But the final draft of Baghdad-Washington security pact must receive the positive vote of 2/3 of the Iraqi parliament. Perhaps the opposition of the Iraqi people, particularly the ulema and religious scholars who consider the agreement a lifelong disgrace, made the Iraqi Parliament Speaker Mahmoud Al-Mashhadani announce in an interview with Al-Arabiya that the legislative was not ready to endorse the accord. On the other hand, White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe has said the accord would never be sent to the Senate for approval. He said a security agreement is not a treaty to require the endorsement of the Senate or any other parliament. This prompted protests and regrets by some members of the US Senate who are opposed to signing of the agreement. It seems that the US representatives play no role in Baghdad-Washington security accord despite their opposition. However, the Iraqi MPs by maintaining the independence and sovereignty of their homeland and by inquiring the views of the religious sources and seminary ulema as well as political party leaders can play their historic and fateful role vis-à-vis the agreement.

4.    Iraq has proposed a complete US troop withdrawal from the country by 2011 but the Americans have proposed 2013 for the purpose. Irrespective of the 2-year difference which could set off various events in one of the most sensitive regions of the world, the US has differentiated between its military and nonmilitary forces. Washington says the troop pullout would only include the combat troops and that other American troops would stay in Iraq for supporting and training Iraqi forces. The occupiers are pretending that their withdrawal from Iraq would result in the country’s devastation. But the truth is that a US withdrawal would enable the Iraqi government to take full control of all the affairs and resolve its problems. Even many domestic opponents of war in the US believe that as long as the American army stays in Iraq the Iraqi government would be unable to create security and national reconciliation. The security accord which would be enforced after the deadline set by the United Nations for withdrawal of foreign forces could provide the grounds for a long-term presence of the Americans in Iraq. The Shias, Sunnis and all the ethnic and political groups in Iraq are well aware that this interventionist presence would weaken the establishment and negate the power of Iraq.

The government and popular institutions in Iraq must be able to     accomplish the process of full and all-out sovereignty and independent administration of the state without presence of foreign forces. The people of Iraq do not want to feel now that they have been liberated from under captivity of a bloodsucker dictator called Saddam Hussein they have come under the clutches of a more armed bloodsucker and a more powerful bully called the United States. Today the security and stability of peoples of Iraq and Iran are interlinked. Cultural, religious, and historical commonalties, sharing hundreds of kilometers of land and sea borders and the presence of sacred religious sites have added to the importance of Iraq as a Muslim, friendly and neighborly country to Iran and the region as well. Iraq will not be happy and will not taste the real taste of security and stability as long as the occupiers remain in the country.


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