Iraq Press Roundup

By ALAA MAJEED, UPI Correspondent  |  Oct. 23, 2008 at 5:15 PM
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The Status of Forces Agreement between Washington and Baghdad was featured in many Iraqi newspapers Thursday. Many of the sticking points center on the role U.S. forces will play in the streets of Iraq and jurisdiction over private security contractors. Addustour newspaper said SOFA negotiations show Iraqi politicians are opposed to the agreement.

Iraqi agreement or political agenda?

Iraqi negotiators for the SOFA are ignorant of the need for the measure even after months of dialogue over its provisions. If Iraqi lawmakers focused on the suffering of the people more than their own political goals, Iraqi life would be more secure.

Iraq needs a national agenda to reach a deal with U.S. forces. Disagreements in Baghdad, however, show politicians they are more concerned with their own objectives than the sovereignty of Iraq.

An agreement to open the borders to Iraq's enemies would undermine national security. What is being implemented in Iraq is a predominately American plan for the country as the SOFA puts U.S. interests ahead of Iraqi interests, the newspaper said.

Iraqi parties that rush to move ahead with the agreement should consider that rejecting the agreement is motivated less by limiting the U.S. troop presence and more by countering their negative influence in the country.

Proponents of the agreement should recognize Iraqi troops and police forces would not be able to assume security responsibility in the presence of American troops.

Al-Iraq lil Kul news service commented on the relationship between the Iraqi electorate and their representatives in the governing councils. Five years after the "liberation," trust among Iraqi voters is in decline as their elected officials fail to address day-to-day concerns.

It took five years for Iraqis to see their real politicians.

Iraqi leaders need to meet the demands of the people by coming to terms with the principles of democracy and freedom of expression.

Analysts are predicting Iraqi voters are supportive of the upcoming provincial elections because the demand for change is mounting as the current leadership is viewed largely as a failure.

Secular and national parties in Iraq emerged after the 2005 elections as having more influence than religious parties. Religious influence on a successful political system, the newspaper said, has declined despite the impact of sectarian and ethnic factors.

The Iraqi people have come to view their political parties in general in a negative fashion during the past five years and are moving away from branded campaign platforms. The people need politicians who will look toward the future, such as dealing with the security arrangement with Washington, in order to lead Iraq in the right direction.

Al-Basaer newspaper Thursday addressed the issue of the mounting opposition to the Status of Forces Agreement with Washington.

More than 1 million protest the shameful SOFA

Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis took to the streets of Baghdad in weekend protests, carrying Iraqi flags in a show of solidarity against the ongoing negotiations with the occupying power.

Iraqis from all parts of the country chanted slogans and carried messages condemning the occupation as the people convened in a single voice to call for the withdrawal of U.S. forces and speak out against articles of the long-term security arrangement.

The Iraqi people see the Status of Forces Agreement as a mandate for the continued occupation of their country. Iraqi lawmakers should heed the voice of the people and speak out against the agreement, the newspaper said.

The protesters have demanded Iraqi lawmakers oppose the measures in the agreement that allow U.S. forces to establish permanent military bases in the country and move swiftly against the measure before Americans elect their next president.

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