NAJAF, Iraq, June 5 (UPI) -- Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani Thursday set a series of conditions necessary for Iraq to consider any strategic arrangement with the United States.
Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council leader Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, after meeting with the cleric in Najaf, relayed four points concerning the strategic framework characterizing the U.S. military presence in Iraq following the expiration of a U.N. mandate in 2009.
"The cleric stressed that any long-term pact in Iraq should maintain four key terms including safeguarding Iraqis' interests, national sovereignty, national consensus and being presented to the Iraqi parliament for approval," Hakim said.
Hakim said the draft framework is a violation of Iraqi sovereignty and does little to remove Iraq from the Chapter VII U.N. Charter authorizing the use of force in Iraq, the Iranian English-language Press TV reported.
Meanwhile, former Iraqi Finance Minister Ali Allawi, a Shiite, wrote in The Independent Thursday the U.S. strategic framework is on par with the 1930 treaty with England, which he says undermined Iraqi politics for decades.
Referring to the U.S. arrangement as a "treaty," Allawi noted the current framework is structured in such a way as to escape the scrutiny of U.S. lawmakers.
"A treaty of such singular significance to Iraq cannot be rammed through with less than a few weeks of debate. Otherwise, the proposed strategic alliance will most certainly be a divisive element in Iraqi politics. It will have the same disastrous effect as the treaty with Britain nearly 80 years ago," he wrote.
The Bush administration established a July 31 deadline for the Iraqi Parliament to sign onto the agreement.