June 7, 2008

Revealed: Secret Plan to Keep Iraq Under US Control

Posted in America, Iraq War tagged , , , , , , , at 9:34 pm by Mazin

Unmasking the real plans of American occupiers/invaders/terrorists sitting in the Pentagon

Patrick Cockburn, The Independent

LONDON, 7 June 2008 — 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 destabilize Iraq’s position in the Middle East and lay the basis for unending conflict in their country.

The accord also threatens to provoke a political crisis in the US. President Bush wants to push it through by the end of next month so he can declare a military victory and claim his 2003 invasion has been vindicated. But by perpetuating the US presence in Iraq, the long-term settlement would undercut pledges by the Democratic presidential nominee, Barack Obama, to withdraw US troops if he is elected president in November.

The timing of the agreement would also boost the Republican candidate, John McCain, who has claimed the United States is on the verge of victory in Iraq — a victory that he says Obama would throw away by a premature military withdrawal.

“The essence of this agreement is to turn the Iraqis into slaves of the Americans.”-Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani

America currently has 151,000 troops in Iraq and, even after projected withdrawals next month, troop levels will stand at more than 142,000 — 10,000 more than when the military “surge” began in January 2007. Under the terms of the new treaty, the Americans would retain the long-term use of more than 50 bases in Iraq. American negotiators are also demanding immunity from Iraqi law for US troops and contractors, and a free hand to carry out arrests and conduct military activities in Iraq without consulting the Baghdad government. 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 delegitimize the government in Baghdad that 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 29,000 ft 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.

Bush is determined to force the Iraqi government to sign the so-called “strategic alliance” without modifications, by the end of next month. But it is already being condemned by the Iranians and many Arabs as a continuing American attempt to dominate the region. Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, the powerful and usually moderate Iranian leader, said that such a deal would create “a permanent occupation”. He added: “The essence of this agreement is to turn the Iraqis into slaves of the Americans.”

Iraq’s Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki is believed to be personally opposed to the terms of the new pact but feels his coalition government cannot stay in power without US backing.

The deal also risks exacerbating the proxy war being fought between Iran and the United States over who should be more influential in Iraq.

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 Iraqi government wants to delay the actual signing of the agreement but the office of Vice President Dick Cheney has been trying to force it through. The US ambassador in Baghdad, Ryan Crocker, has spent weeks trying to secure the accord.

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