“Half a Loaf…” in Iraq

2008_negotiators "The failure of months of negotiations over the more detailed accord — blamed on both the Iraqi refusal to accept U.S. terms and the complexity of the task — deals a blow to the Bush administration’s plans to leave in place a formal military architecture in Iraq that could last for years.

Although President Bush has repeatedly rejected calls for a troop withdrawal timeline, "we are talking about dates," acknowledged one U.S. official close to the negotiations. Iraqi political leaders "are all telling us the same thing. They need something like this in there. . . . Iraqis want to know that foreign troops are not going to be here forever." "  Washpost


It was predictable that the hubris of the Bush Administration belief that it had acquired a NATO-like position with regard to the "new Iraq" would prove to be both false and dangerous.

Whatever the terms of the temporary agreements that will be agreed on between Baghdad and Washington, those agreements will not be a solid basis for an indefinite US occupation of Iraq.

Future Iraqi governments will be able to repudiate them to demand withdrawal and true independence.  A future US president will be able to cite them as justification for a reduction in US forces leading to the sort of relationship that the US has with Jordan and Egypt.

The Iraqi negotiators, whatever their motivations, have served both Iraq and the US well.  pl


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10 Responses to “Half a Loaf…” in Iraq

  1. GSD says:

    The Bush led US government is being slowly triangulated out of the picture. From agreements in Iraq to negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians and Syrians and Lebanese orchestrated by France, Turkey and Egypt.
    My fear is that the childish and ego-centric Bush is going to want to be heard one last time before he drifts into history and becomes the latter day equivalent of Augusto Pinochet.
    Look out world.

  2. Mad Dogs says:

    The only ones who missed seeing this coming from a light-year or three away seem to be the typical Administration cheerleaders like Ambassador Crockpot and Secretary Not So Nice (darn, this diplomacy thingie is just too hard, I think I’ll go shopping).
    And Pat, you’re exceptionally right today, because the lack of “diplomacy” by this Administration in general, has in this instance benefited both sides.
    By doing nothing, this time they finally got something right.
    Perhaps Secretary Gates and the DoD might ponder its value vis a vis Cheney’s intent for Iran.
    Just sayin’, sometimes it’s best just to stay home and read a book or something (Junya, are you listening?).

  3. anna missed says:

    Sometimes, when you have an all or nothing negotiating position – you get left with nothing.

  4. jonst says:

    Half a loaf is better than none, you are correct, Col, if that is what you were getting at.
    However, I must admit that my eyes are turning, more and more, to Afghanistan. The Times article today on the rationale for speeding up the withdrawal out of Iraq, so we can send additional personal to Afghanistan, along with the news today of a full scale, successful, attack on an FOB makes me wonder where the central front is now. And I think Afghanistan is a worse arena for our troops than Iraq is. Put a larger contingent into Afghanistan absent resolving the NW Frontier issues and I think we have big, big, trouble.

  5. Spider Rider says:

    “Put a larger contingent into Afghanistan absent resolving the NW Frontier issues and I think we have big, big, trouble.”
    I agree with you.
    I would also look upon this as less a war on terror, now, and more a war for oil, with terror as a rational.
    And I would look to how our position in Afghanistan affects future
    oil acquisition in Africa.
    (Theoretically, that is, if I were competing with Russia, and China, for oil, for energy, worldwide, a very real concern, for some.)
    It would also be an incredibly stupid move, IMO, but par for the Dick Cheney neocon course, and they haven’t gotten one move right, yet.

  6. TomB says:

    Ah, but is it a milestone on the Iraqi road towards becoming a truly sovereign, independent nation, or merely a milestone on the way towards becoming an Iranian satrapy?

  7. Paul says:

    Not much has been mentioned in the press about the ‘bases” that DOD has and is now building in Iraq. From personal knowledge, some of these bases have the look and feel or permanent posts. In light of the delay or possible elimination of SOFA and post-December 2008 agreements, have we built military reservations for Shia forces of that region? Were these bases the true rationale for the “surge”?
    The DOD cannot be serious about controlling significant areas in Afghanistan. Witness today’s result at a NATO FOB in Eastern Afghanistan. Are the military leaders mindful of the history of the Russian military in that region? It is a leap of faith to believe that a tired Army/Marine Corps/National Guard force can simply be moved to a new theater and succeed.
    Halliburton is surely breeding Tennessee mules for this next phase.
    Iraq and Afghanistan would be a farce if not for the suffering of those who serve there.

  8. SNi says:

    One thing I’ve never understood re a possible SOFA/SFA agreement. With the Democrats and Obama very much against it exactly what would stop Senator Obama saying that he would consider any last minute agreement signed by President Bush as null and void if he is elected as President? Other than a possible lack of interstinal fortitude on his part, that is..

  9. Duncan Kinder says:

    Iraq and Afghanistan would be a farce if not for the suffering of those who serve there.
    Not to mention the people who live there.

  10. poor African says:

    great post! ..”half a loaf.. in Iraq” thanks very much for sharing!

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