Thursday, June 12, 2008

The reality is that Iraqi authority would be nominal

By Patrick Cockburn

"In practice, there is less to the American "concessions" than would first appear. The reaction in Iraq to the US demands for the long-term use of military bases and other rights has been so furious that Washington is now offering limited concessions in the negotiations. For example, the US is lowering the number of bases it wants from 58 to "the low dozens" and says it is willing to compromise on legal immunity for foreign contractors according to information leaked to The Independent.

George Bush is willing to modify some of the demands so the Iraqi government can declare "a significant climbdown" by the American side allowing Baghdad to sign the treaty by 31 July.

But the US currently only maintains about 30 large bases in Iraq, some the size of small cities; the rest are "forward operating bases".

The US ambassador to Iraq, Ryan Crocker, denied The Independent's report that the US wanted permanent bases in Iraq. But the reality of the US plan is that Iraqi authority would be purely nominal with a few Iraqi soldiers stationed outside the bases........"

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