RTE News reports on the draft of the treaty (posing as a SOFA) between the White House and the puppet Nouri al-Maliki which allegedly requires US forces to leave Iraq by the close of 2011 ("unless asked to stay") and allegedly allows the Iraqi judicial system to pursue actions against US service members provided the action in question happens while the service members are off duty. Ali al-Dabbagh, puppet spokesperson, states that, as a backup, Iraq would consider seeking an extension of the UN authorization for the occupation of Iraq (it expires December 31st). Reuters asserts the same whispers RTE does.
Mariam Karouny (Reuters, in a different report) explains:
Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki submitted a final draft of a security agreement with the United States to political leaders for review on Wednesday, after months of negotiations with Washington.
"The agreement on the temporary presence of troops and their withdrawal has been distributed today to the members of the political council for national security, which will meet on Friday to discuss the draft," Maliki's spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh told Reuters.
"The government decided that the draft should take its constitutional path through the cabinet and parliament," he added. "It's the first step ... for Iraqi politicians to discuss and to decide finally their stance on the agreement."
Should the puppet and the US sign off on the latest draft, the Iraqi process would include the Parliament and the presidency council agreeing with it. On the US side, apparently so much 'democracy' was 'given' to Iraq that there's none left for America. The White House has maintained that they do not need the advice and consent of the US Senate.
The United Nations authorization (for the occupation only -- the invasion was never authorized by the UN) expires December 31st and if that authority ends, it ends for all foreign forces in Iraq. Which is why the UK is attempting to reach their own treaty with the puppet Nouri al-Maliki. Gulf Daily News reports:
It is critical for Iraq to reach an agreement in the next few weeks permitting British troops to stay in the country after a UN mandate expires at the end of this year, a British Foreign Office minister said yesterday.
Iraq and the US have been negotiating for months over a security agreement to settle the status of American troops once the mandate enacted after the 2003 invasion expires.
Once those negotiations are complete, Britain, which has 4,100 troops in Iraq, wants to secure a similar agreement.
Monday, Deborah Haynes and Richard Beeston's "Time to go home, Nouri al-Maliki tells Britain" (Times of London). A transcript of the interview can be found here. Today's Zaman zooms in on a remark by al-Maliki:
"Kirkuk is a city that belongs to the federal government and is outside the boundaries of the Kurdish region. … [Issues in] Kirkuk will not be solved by using force to impose a solution," he said in an interview with The Times, published on Monday. He was answering a question as to whether there could be any Iraqi attempt to re-impose government authority on the city, currently controlled by Kurdish forces. "The existence of any force that is not formal and governmental is considered, as you said, outside legal rules and goes by the principle of militias," he added.
From the transcript of the Times of London interview (page seven of eight), here is that exchange:
[Times of London]:What about Kirkuk, is this a serious problem facing your Government? The area is controlled by Kurdish militias, can you ever imagine re-imposing Government authority by force?
[al-Maliki]: Kirkuk is a city that belongs to the federal government and is outside the boundaries of the Kurdistan region. The existence of any force that is not formal and governmental is considered, as you said, outside the legal rules and goes by the principle of militias. Kirkuk is a very sensitive area. Our opinion about Kirkuk is that it will not be solved by using force to impose a solution ... It is shared by Turkomans, Sunni Arabs, Kurds, and a small ratio of Christians…The only suitable solution, at this time, is to treat it as a special case, like being an independent region ...
The different ethnic groups accuse each other of bringing in people from outside the province and granting them residency. The province is under Kurdish control at the moment … The others, the Turkomans and the Sunni Arabs, accuse the local government of manipulating the census and the figures… It is better to have a solution between the groups based on consensus…
Provincial elections will not take place this year in Iraq. To finally get a bill through the Parliament, the issue of the oil-rich city of Kirkuk had to be set aside. The Kurdistan region believes it belongs to them (and has been shipping Kurds into the area for some time to stack a census -- if one is ever taken -- as well as influence the results).
The New Adventures of Old Christine airs tonight on CBS, first half-hour of prime time. (Tonight is also the Democratic and Republican presidential candidates' debate.) There are currently two episodes from this year available for streaming up at the show's website and there are additional clips.
Mike noted that as well as some Iraq news last night, Elaine addressed e-mail questions, Marcia covered ACORN and other topics, in light of the Ralph Nader campaign's "What's your breaking point?," Ruth explains her breaking point with Barack, Rebecca tackled Barack's latest sexism, Kat called out cowardice in 'leadership' and (joint-post) Wally's "THIS JUST IN! BARACK'S SHLOCK ROCK!" and Cedric's "Barack's imitation-rock concert" addressed non 'groups.'
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