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Iraqi Parliamentarians Denounce The Bush-Maliki Permanent-Occupation Deal

At Rep. Bill Delahunt’s (D-MA) foreign affairs subcommittee this afternoon, the U.S. Congress heard for the first time from Iraqi parliamentarians. The two legislators — Sheikh Khalaf al-Ulayyan from Sunni Anbar Province and Prof. Nadeem al-Jaberi from Shiite Baghdad — vigorously denounced the forthcoming U.S.-Iraq long-term-security deal negotiated between the Bush administration and the Nouri al-Maliki government.

Wearing a dark suit, a red tie and wire-rimmed glasses, al-Jaberi couched his arguments against the deal in Iraqi sovereignty. “The Iraqi government right now does not have the full reign of its sovereignty, because of the thousands of foreign troops that are on its land,” he said through a translator. “And perhaps the Iraqi government does not have as of yet sufficient tools to run its own internal affairs. Therefore, I ask the American government not to embarrass the Iraqi government by putting it in a difficult situation with this agreement.”

The unequal status of the Iraqi and American governments at this time — that is, during occupation — will most likely “lead to more instability,” Jaberi said. “We hope any future agreement does not affect or impact iraqi sovereignty, such as permanent military bases.” If there is to be any security deal, he said, it had to wait until the occupation finally ends.

al-Ulayyan, dressed in traditional tribal clothing, said he wanted to “salute the American people for their stand against the war, which we saw on TV in the form of demonstrations and protests.” He cautioned against unplanned withdrawal. “Any withdrawal that is not studied carefully will lead to impotence and flaws in the security,” he said through translation. “However, protecting Iraq does not require signing long-term agreements like the one proposed, because [the U.S. has] bases in surrounding countries like Kuwait, Jordan and so forth, and therefore, we dont see any importance or need for military bases in Iraq.”

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