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Turning Iraq into A Mega-Guantanamo

Monday, June 16, 2008

Hassan Hanizadeh

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki stated in Jordan that the United States and Iraq had reached an impasse in their efforts to draft a security pact.

Maliki emphasized that the agreement would “deeply infringe on the sovereignty of Iraq” and added that the Iraqi government would not allow the country’s independence to be undermined under any circumstances.

In their negotiations, the U.S. side demanded that its troops and contractors in Iraq be given immunity from prosecution, the right to arrest Iraqi citizens and conduct anti-terrorist operations in the country without the requirement of Iraqi government approval, and control over the country’s airspace, which means they want to establish a new Guantanamo in Iraq.

Washington is also insisting that the controversial pact should allow it to establish permanent U.S. military bases in the country, which is a point Iraq’s political and religious leaders are vehemently opposed to.

Another bone of contention between the U.S. and Iraqi negotiators is the United States’ insistence on keeping Iraq under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, according to which it would be able to extend the occupation of Iraq and would be at liberty to continue its military activities and exploitation of the country’s oil reserves.

Further details about the draft of the proposed security pact have not been released, but it appears that the U.S. wants to make Iraq a new colony and base of operations for implementing its long-term plans in the Middle East.

By hook or by crook, Washington wants to get the pact signed, despite the fact that Iraqi religious figures and laymen are totally opposed to it, and U.S. officials are even prepared to foment ethnic and sectarian conflicts to attain their nefarious goal.

The contradictory statements by Iraqi officials on the contents of the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) show the United States is trying to create discord between members of Iraq’s negotiating team.

Since the Iraqi prime minister is clearly opposed to the SOFA, it seems that U.S. President George W. Bush will not be able to use the security pact as a selling point for the Republicans in the U.S. general election in November.

This makes the situation difficult for Bush during the final months of his presidency because he will not have any acceptable explanation for the nation about the outcome of the Iraq occupation.

Surely the pact provides the U.S. president his last opportunity to pull off an electoral miracle in November, but the firm opposition of Iraq’s leaders will leave Bush in a situation where he has no more trump cards left to play.

Source: http://www.tehrantimes.com/Index_view.asp?code=170820

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