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Finally: Details on the Bush/Maliki Permanent Occupation Plan

Via Colonel Joe at VetVoice, Patrick Cockburn has gotten leaks about the terms of the impending Bush/Maliki long-term-occupation deal. Remember how the Bush administration finally started saying it didn’t want permanent military bases? Well…

A secret deal being negotiated in Baghdad would perpetuate the American military occupation of Iraq indefinitely, regardless of the outcome of the US presidential election in November.

The terms of the impending deal, details of which have been leaked to The Independent, are likely to have an explosive political effect in Iraq. Iraqi officials fear that the accord, under which US troops would occupy permanent bases, conduct military operations, arrest Iraqis and enjoy immunity from Iraqi law, will destabilise Iraq’s position in the Middle East and lay the basis for unending conflict in their country.

Jaberi and Ulayyan repeatedly told Bill Delahunt’s House foreign-affairs subcommittee that their understanding was Bush was after the Iraqi bases. GOP Reps. Dana Rohrabacher and Jeff Flake kept denying it. Well..

The precise nature of the American demands has been kept secret until now. The leaks are certain to generate an angry backlash in Iraq. “It is a terrible breach of our sovereignty,” said one Iraqi politician, adding that if the security deal was signed it would delegitimise the government in Baghdad which will be seen as an American pawn.

The US has repeatedly denied it wants permanent bases in Iraq but one Iraqi source said: “This is just a tactical subterfuge.” Washington also wants control of Iraqi airspace below 29,000ft and the right to pursue its “war on terror” in Iraq, giving it the authority to arrest anybody it wants and to launch military campaigns without consultation.

Yesterday, Ulayyan and Jaberi repeatedly said that they have nothing against the American people and look forward to a relationship of “equals” — that is, a constructive partnership that can only exist after the occupation ends. More than half of the Iraqi parliament signed a letter to Congress demanding a timetable to withdraw. But just as we’ve been sold out by craven warmongers and war-profiteers, so too have the Iraqis. Can they be undercut? Well…

Although Iraqi ministers have said they will reject any agreement limiting Iraqi sovereignty, political observers in Baghdad suspect they will sign in the end and simply want to establish their credentials as defenders of Iraqi independence by a show of defiance now. The one Iraqi with the authority to stop deal is the majority Shia spiritual leader, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani. In 2003, he forced the US to agree to a referendum on the new Iraqi constitution and the election of a parliament. But he is said to believe that loss of US support would drastically weaken the Iraqi Shia, who won a majority in parliament in elections in 2005.

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