U.S. Ideas Fail To Halt Impasse On Iraq Security Pact

U.S. Ideas Fail To Halt Impasse On Iraq Security Pact
June 13th, 2008  
Team Infidel

Topic: U.S. Ideas Fail To Halt Impasse On Iraq Security Pact

U.S. Ideas Fail To Halt Impasse On Iraq Security Pact
Philadelphia Inquirer
June 13, 2008 Critics say the proposals would lead to too much U.S. military, political, economic domination.
By Qassim Abdul-Zahra, Associated Press
BAGHDAD - New U.S. proposals have failed to overcome Iraqi opposition to a proposed security pact, two lawmakers said yesterday, and a senior government official expressed doubt that an agreement could be reached before the U.S. presidential election in November.
The security agreement would provide a legal basis for the presence of U.S. forces in Iraq after the U.N. mandate expires at the end of this year. Failure to strike a deal would leave the future of the American military presence here to the next administration.
U.S. negotiators offered new proposals this week after Iraqi lawmakers expressed outrage over the direction of the negotiations, claiming that accepting the U.S. position would cement American military, political and economic domination of this country.
Several Iraqi lawmakers said a major obstacle was the U.S. demand for immunity from prosecution in Iraqi courts for all American personnel, including both troops and civilian contractors.
Iman al-Asadi, a Shiite member of the Parliamentary Committee on Legal Affairs, said the latest American version "wasn't satisfactory, to say the least."
She said the American proposals contained "some good points, but they were not up to what we had expected." Asadi said the committee had recommended to the negotiators that they reject the latest draft, the fourth since the talks began in March.
Kurdish lawmaker Mahmoud Othman confirmed Asadi's comments, adding that "we will not sign" the agreement as proposed by Washington.
U.S. officials have refused to release details of the talks while they are still under way but have expressed their respect for Iraqi sovereignty.
The top State Department adviser on Iraq, David Satterfield, told reporters this week that the two sides would meet a July target date to finish the agreement, which must be ratified by the Iraqi parliament.
President Bush told reporters this week in Germany that he was also confident that a deal would be reached. But a senior Iraqi official told the Associated Press that the chance of completing an agreement before the U.S. presidential election was "slim," although he added that Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's government was interested in a deal if it served Iraqi interests.
The official is familiar with the negotiations but spoke on condition of anonymity to protect his position.
Citing one of the disputed points, Asadi said the latest U.S. proposals limited immunity from prosecution to American military personnel but that was not enough.
"What happens to our dignity? What happens to our sovereignty? We want immunity to be lifted," she said.
She also said the Americans had softened their demand for control of a considerable part of Iraq's airspace but that the Iraqis insisted on full control.
"If the U.S. controls the air, the ground and the sea, this means no sovereignty," she said.
Asadi refused to release further details or talk about how many bases the United States wanted access to under the agreement. She said the Americans were now avoiding talk of numbers of bases but were asking for an "American presence" until Iraqi security forces were deemed ready to take over from U.S.-led forces.
She said the agreement included no timetable for drawing down American forces and "this is a scandal."

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