"The United States and Iraq are opening negotiations in Baghdad on a blueprint for a long-term relationship, plus a narrower deal to define the legal basis for a U.S. troop presence, a Pentagon official said yesterday.
Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell said the talks are scheduled to start today.
Leading the U.S. negotiating team will be Ryan Crocker, the U.S. ambassador to Iraq. He will be assisted by senior officials from the Pentagon, the State Department and the White House’s National Security Council.
Mr. Morrell said the United States expects a lengthy negotiation, with a goal of completing a deal by December, when the U.N. Security Council resolution that now governs the United States and coalition presence in Iraq will expire.
The process of negotiating a long-term deal with the Iraqi government has triggered criticism from some in Congress, in part because the administration’s position is that the deal will not require congressional approval and in part out of concern that it might commit to a specific U.S. troop level." WASHTIMES
This raises several significant points:
1- A Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) is undoubtedly needed to establish the legal position of US military personnel in Iraq. The expiration of UN authorization would leave US soldiers in the awkward situation of being vulnerable to prosecution under local law no matter what other agreements might have been made between the two governments. If the Iraq government wants to keep US soldiers in its country for some additional time then the US needs to know what the specific arrangements are for adjudication of complaints against American troops.
2- A treaty of alliance or mutual defense agreement (MDA) that binds the US to Iraq "permanently" will represent the fulfillment of the Jacobin neocon dream. This dream has always involved building a new political system in the Middle East that will negate and disrupt old relationships while constructing a new alliance system with the US at the center of the "picture." This is CENTO and the Baghdad Pact re-dux. Haven’t these people read ANY history that they think significant? Why do they think that the ending will be different this time?
3- The administration believes that such a treaty or MDA can be put in place legally WITHOUT senate approval? If there is not a major battle over that point then the days of the republic are limited in all but name. pl