Friday, December 5, 2008

Iraq's US security charade

Whatever agreements the US forces Iraq to sign cannot obscure the obvious: the US should withdraw from Iraq and acknowledge the mess it made

By Ramzy Baroud
Al-Ahram Weekly

".......It's also bewildering how some important details are so conveniently overlooked; for example, the fact that the Iraqi government can sign a separate agreement with the US to extend the deadline for withdrawal should the security situation deem such an agreement necessary. Instead, the focus was made on "concessions" obtained by the Iraqis regarding Iraq's jurisdiction over US citizens and soldiers who commit heinous crimes while "off duty" and outside their military bases. This precisely means that the gruesome crimes committed in prisons such as Abu Ghraib and the wilful shooting last year of 17 Iraqi civilians by Blackwater mercenaries in Nisour Square in Central Baghdad is of no concern for Iraqis. And even when crimes that fall under Iraqi jurisdiction are reported, such matters are to be referred to a joint US-Iraqi committee. One can only assume that those with the bigger guns will always prevail in their interpretation of the agreement.

In fact, a major reason behind the delay in publishing the agreement in English (an Arabic version was first publicised) is the apparent US insistence on interpreting the language in a fashion that would allow for loopholes in future disagreements. But even if the language is understood with mutual clarity, and even if the Iraqi government were determined to stand its ground on a particular issue, who is likely to prevail: the US government with 150,000 troops on the ground and a massive imperial project whose failure will prove most costly to US interests in the Middle East, or the government of Nuri Al-Maliki, whose very existence is a US determination?......."

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