Not that they’re doing much to alleviate it. Despite strident Iraqi dissatisfaction with the indefinite-occupation accord, Pentagon spokesman Bryan Singer said today that negotiations are continuing, and he tried to wave away some of the Iraqis’ arguments against the deal:
The U.S. discussions with Iraq are based on three fundamental principles, the spokesman said.
First, he said, is full respect for Iraqi sovereignty. “There isn’t going to be any sort of agreement that infringes on Iraq’s sovereignty,” Whitman flatly declared.
The second principle is that the agreement is fully transparent. There will be no secret deals in the negotiations, he said.
Third, it will be an Iraqi national decision. Any agreement will be submitted and debated in the Iraqi parliament, as required by law.
Whitman said negotiators are confident they will meet the deadline for the agreement.
That deadline is next month. But consider that Whitman is relying on a store of credibility that the Bush administration simply doesn’t have with the Iraqis. What Iraqi is really going to believe George Bush when he says that we’re not going to have permanent bases or “secret deals,” even on the off-chance that he’s sincere? And when Iraqi parliamentarians are saying the deal infringes on Iraqi sovereignty, how can the Bush administration say “nuh uh”?
We’ll see, meanwhile, if the parliament actually votes it down. It’s hard to imagine the Bush administration would allow its much-desired deal to enter the Iraqi parliament without engineering its passage. Then again, it’s not as if they’re the most competent bunch.
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