Juan Cole's 'Informed Comment':
Tuesday, June 03, 2008
US-Iraq Security Talks Hit Snag; Mosul Police HQ Bombed, 55 Killed or Wounded
The US is still hopeful that it can conclude a security agreement with the government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki
on the framework for a US troop presence next year after the UN Security Council authorization runs out.
The negotiations have produced a sharp reaction from a broad cross-section of the Iraqi public, Sunni and Shiite, and different factions of the Shiites. The US embassy is trying to blame Iran for all this, but the allegation won't wash. Iran does oppose the pact, but so do lots of Iraqis, including close US allies in Iraq and the nativist urban slum youth of the Sadr Movement, who don't even like Iran.
Al-Hayat reports in Arabic that both Sunni and Shiite Iraqis have united to reject the draft of a security agreement proposed by the United States.
A high-level Iraqi source told the pan-Arab London daily that one point of dispute is that the US wants its troops to have complete freedom of movement in the country, whereas the Iraqis want it to be limited.
The Americans are said to be seeking to retain the right to dominate Iraqi air space up to 29,000 feet, and to gain open access to the land, air and water of Iraq. The US wants to retain the right to arrest and detain any Iraqi whom the US believes represents a security threat.
Washington desires the right to launch military operations to chase terrorists without seeking Iraqi government permission.
The US wants immunity from prosecution in Iraqi courts for American troops, contractors and corporations in Iraq. The US also wants to retain the right to define terrorism against Iraq. It does not want to give any undertaking that it will defend Iraq from any outside attack unless it is convinced about the nature of that attack. Likewise it is not offering to safeguard the democratic regime in Iraq.
Iraqis for their part are demanding a recognition of Iraqi sovereignty.