Thursday, August 28, 2008

Some say US hinting at unilateral withdrawal with undesirable consequences for Maliki

The Kuwaiti paper AlQabas prints a summary of various ambiguous and unclear points in recent draft(s) of the proposed bilateral security agreement, and Ladybird at RoadstoIraq goes through a number of the points in more detail, based on a draft published by one of the resistance groups.

There are a couple of other points in the today's AlQabas article, relating to the negotiating process itself: First, their sources say the Ayatollah Sistani has been taking a detailed interest in the process, and continues to object to, and will no doubt reject, points where there is any infringement of Iraqi sovereignty.

Also, there is this:
And since the Americans are not ignorant of what has happened [apparently referring to the Najaf role in the process], according to a knowledgeable source, an assistant Secretary of Defence (I guess it's now State) General Kimmitt delivered a message to the Iraqi government that included the possibility of arriving at an ambiguous result prolonging the presence of the American forces in Iraq within [Chapter 7 as authorized by] the Security Council, because of the tension that has arisen with Russia as a result of the Georgia crisis. And the message hinted that "the technical problems have been dealt with, however the common political horizon between the two countries are still in a problematic standoff and for that reason it should not be ruled out that we take our decision on withdrawal.
I'm not even sure which "two countries" that refers to--US-Russia or US-Iraq--but the main point is explained by the journalist as follows:
This message is understood--by some Iraqi politicians--as a threatening form of pressure on the Iraqi side in order to hasten the formation of an agreement, and [these Iraqi politicians] explained that the intimation about "taking a decision on withdrawal" contains within it reference to a scenario previously prepared by Washington that could follow upon such a step, and which would not be in the interests of the political forces that are still rejecting the draft security agreement.


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