Iraq Press Roundup

By ALAA MAJEED, UPI Correspondent  |  Aug. 15, 2008 at 2:39 PM
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On Friday, Iraqi newspapers discussed the issue of the negotiated long-term strategic agreement between the United States and Iraq.

Such an agreement must be dealt with by a committee elected specifically for the matter, the independent Kul al-Iraq newspaper said.

The American security agreement.

In Iraq, government officials and other leaders issue statements regarding the long-term agreement without discussing or negotiating the matter with other parties of concern.

Officials involved with the agreement must set up a committee that has experience in dealing with and negotiating such agreements, as it is a serious step toward the U.S. policy in Iraq.

A committee, after discussing and negotiating the agreement, would hand a draft to the Iraqi government, which would transfer it to the Iraqi Parliament for a vote.

Currently, when the Iraqi Parliament has an obstacle or a dispute on the strategic agreement or any other serious matter, it asks the opinion of Iraqi religious figures such as Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, Kul al-Iraq said.

For its part, the al-Basaer newspaper of the Association of Muslim Scholars, in reference to the strategic agreement between the United States and Iraq, said Friday that the Muslim nation is unbreakable in spite of attempts by "enemies" to have it dissembled.

The Islamic world and the security agreement in Iraq.

Religion is the most prominent factor that ties the Islamic and Arab nations together, although each country has its other independent characteristics.

Religious institutions around the Arab and Muslim world must commit to putting pressure on their governments to interfere with the security agreement under consideration between the United States and Iraq.

The least role religious institutions can play is to weaken attempts by the United States to pass the agreement. They also can play a role by encouraging mass religious opposition against such an agreement, considering it concerns only the interests of the occupier and never the interests of the people.

Religious groups must state to their governments and public that this agreement represents a continuation of the occupation of Iraq, a truth shown in its articles.

Iraq is part of both the Islamic and the Arab world, and the chaotic situation there could harm the whole region, especially the countries of Syria and Jordan.

The legitimacy of the Iraqi government that was set up by the occupier is invalid and therefore unqualified to sign agreements that bring more miseries to the people of Iraq.

Religious figures and groups could play an important role in educating people and raising their awareness on the need to dismiss sectarian divisions, or "encounter terrorism" in the words of the security agreement, which would bring more stability to Iraq and negate the need for the agreement.

There is a need for calls from all Arab and Muslim countries to end the occupation of Iraq, which has only brought destruction and damage to the country.

The Muslim and Arab countries must not lose their belief in their capability to change the circumstances of the agreement as the U.S. and Iraqi governments will inevitably reach a consensus on the deal.

Close to the issue of the agreement between Iraq and the United States regarding the security situation in Iraq, the al-Bayyna newspaper of the Iraqi Hezbollah party said the United States has to guarantee Iraqi authority, security and other commitments that prevent any foreign enemy from trying to harm the sovereignty of Iraq.

Iraq and confronting the occupation.

Discussing the strategic agreement between Iraq and the United States, the latter has to address supporting the Iraqi government in its attempt to fight the terror groups such as al-Qaida, the Saddamists and other outlaws, regardless of their affiliation.

The U.S. side must commit to training and preparing Iraqi forces to fight on their own by supplying them with weapons, equipments and other support.

The Iraqi government, for its part, should demand that U.S. forces stay until Iraq is completely safe from outside interference.

The long-term security agreement, however, aims to continue the U.S. occupation of Iraq and, to many, the agreement is illegitimate and illegal because Iraq lacks sovereignty while under occupation.

For Iraqis, the most serious article of the agreement is the one that calls for keeping U.S. troops in Iraq for 25 more years, which is an unrealistic timetable to "bring security" to Iraq, the newspaper said.

The other point of concern, from the point of view of the Iraqi people, is the U.S. insistence on including an article that gives U.S. troops and private security contractors amnesty from Iraqi law.

In brief, any agreement between the United States and occupied Iraq simply means turning the illegal presence of U.S. forces into a legal one, al-Bayyna said.

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