Angst grows over U.S.-Iraqi military deal

June 11, 2008 at 7:15 AM
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WASHINGTON, June 11 (UPI) -- There is a growing chorus of dissent and condemnation over the long-term military agreement between Iraq and the United States.

U.S. lawmakers expressed concern about the transparency of the agreement set to replace the current Chapter Seven U.N. mandate for military operations in Iraq. At the same time, Iraqi parliamentarians say any U.S. military arrangement would position their country as a staging ground for broadcasting Western interests in the Middle East.

"Whoever has a chance to look at it would realize Iraq (under the proposed agreement) would not just be an occupied country, but as if it were part of the United States," Khalaf al-Alayyan, a Sunni lawmaker with the Iraqi National Dialogue Council, told The Christian Science Monitor

Patrick Clawson with the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, a Washington think tank, said the agreement is similar to any number of other arrangements the United States has with other countries, such as Germany and Japan. Clawson notes "there is no question of their full sovereignty" with those frameworks.

Other analysts, however, say the issue of sovereignty looms large in the minds of many Iraqi lawmakers when considering the current draft proposing a long-term U.S. military presence in the country.

"If the first draft of this thing bears any resemblance to what we've heard, if there's any reference even to long-term bases, then they (in the U.S. administration) really are tone deaf," says Wayne White, a former Iraq policy analyst at the State Department.

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