Fearing political division in the parliament and in his country, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki won't sign the just-completed agreement on the status of U.S. forces in Iraq, a leading lawmaker said Friday.
The new accord's demise would be a major setback for the Bush administration, which has been seeking to establish a legal basis for the extended presence of the 151,000 U.S. troops in this country, and for Iraq, which won notable concessions in the draft accord reached a week ago.
"No, he will not" submit the agreement to the parliament, Sheikh Jalal al Din al Sagheer, the deputy head of the Shiite Muslim Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq, told McClatchy. "For this matter, we need national consensus."
The above is from Roy Gutman's "Iraq's prime minister won't sign U.S. troop deal" (McClatchy Newspapers) and don't count the treaty out yet. al-Maliki is a US puppet and the administration wants the deal. You might think that the State Dept -- which has been doing a strong diplomatic push for the last five weeks -- would be in a tizzy over the latest news; however, they seem highly non-plussed. A sure sign that something more is planned. On the front page of today's New York Times, Alissa J. Rubin offers "As Iraq Takes Control, Puzzle Over Prisoners" which asks what happenes at US prisons like Camp Bucca when Iraq has control or something resembling it? Rubin writes:
Under the proposed new rules, the United States military would need Iraqi permission to make arrests and then would have to turn suspects over to the Iraqi authorities within 24 hours.
Less clear, however, is what will happen to those already in detention -- about 1,000 people in all.
And the answer? Less clear is as clear as it gets. Inside the paper, James Risen offers "Pentagon Finds Company Violated Its Contract on Electrical Work at Bases in Iraq" which involves the Pentagon's finding that KBR is in "serious contractual noncompliance" and the paper ads that there are more records about safety violations than were previously known (at least 18 lives have been lost due to electrical 'work' by US contractors in Iraq).
Kimberly Wilder (On The Wilder Side) notes AFP's "Forgotten candidates for US president may still impact race" which is an overview of all the candidates running for president:
Republican John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama have captured the limelight in the race for the US presidency, but they are not the only ones running: 12 forgotten candidates are also chasing the keys to the White House.
Kimberly Wilder is a Green and supporting her party's nominee, Cynthia McKinney, so we'll note this section on McKinney from the article:
Like the Democrats, the Green Party also has an African-American candidate in Cynthia McKinney, a Georgia congresswoman from 1993 to 2003.
McKinney will be on the ballot in 32 states, and could possibly peel off voters from Obama in key states due to her support among women, blacks and anti-war advocates.
"Obama cannot take the peace vote for granted. There are peace candidates running from across the political spectrum," said Kevin Zeese, executive director of anti-war group Voters for Peace.
And just to correct two things, any vote Cynthia recieves (true of all candidates) is a vote she won, not one she 'peeled off'. Second, Cynthia McKinney is the ONLY African-American candidate. Prior to running for the presidency, Barack regularly (and repeatedly) billed himself as "African American" in Columbia's alumni publication. He said he did so to note both countries and explained it was not hyphenated because he wasn't African-American. When even uber Obama supporter Donna Brazile can use the proper terms (bi-racial, mixed race) on Charlie Rose, you'd think the press might be able to.
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