Through The Static

May 30, 2008

Iraqis Protest Against Possible Long-Term U.S. Presence

Filed under: Drinking,Fanon,Government,Military,Politics,World News — disciplepete @ 5:01 pm

The U.S. government is trying to get a deal done with the Iraqi government that would allow U.S. troops to remain in Iraq after the expiration of a U.N. mandate in December. This deal would set up the possibility of a long term U.S. presence in Iraq, and Iraqis by the thousands are out protesting what they see as a deal that would undermine their sovereignty and dignity. From my good buddy Al:

Tens of thousands of Iraqi Shia have taken to the streets of Baghdad and other cities to protest against a long-term security deal with the US.

The rallies after Friday prayers follow a call by Muqtada al-Sadr for weekly protests against the deal that could lead to more US troops and a long-term US presence…

…Officials from the administration of George Bush, the US president, told Al Jazeera they expect to finalise the deal by the end of July.

Some reactions from influential Iraqi opponents of the deal:

A statement from al-Sadr’s office called the negotiations “a project of humiliation for the Iraqi people”…

…Abdul-Aziz al-Hakim, another leading Shia figure, spoke out against the agreement, saying it would violate Iraq’s sovereignty.

Last week, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, Iraq’s most revered Shia cleric, also reportedly expressed his anger, saying he would not permit the Iraqi government to sign a deal with “US occupiers” as long as he lived.

But the U.S. insists that it’s not aiming for permanent bases in Iraq:

The US government has said it will not seek permanent bases in Iraq.

David Satterfield, a senior adviser on Iraq at the US state department, told Al Jazeera that the so-called Status of Forces Agreement (Sofa) with Baghdad would address the issue.

“The Sofa agreement and the strategic frameworks agreement will make explicit that there is no desire for, indeed there is a rejection of, permanent bases. We could not be clearer on this point,” he said.

“We do not believe that there is a need for such bases.”

Apparently, and prudently, the Iraqi people aren’t buying it.

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