Below are two interesting posts by Raed Jarrar:
Wednesday, September 03, 2008
Al-Mashhadani is against US-Iraqi agreement
In a rare and important interview, conducted by Al-Arabiya, with Dr. Mahmoud Al-Mashhadani, the head of the Iraqi parliament, he explained how the Iraqi parliament is against signing an agreement with the US.Dr. Al-Mashhadani discussed both the political and procedural aspects of signing the treaty.Technically, the Iraqi parliament is not ready to ratify any international treaties because the "law to ratify international treaties and agreements" has not been approved by the parliament yet. This law is required by the constitution (article 61 paragraph 4), and it requires a 2/3 majority of parliament to approve it.
This alone will take months to debate and pass. After that, and according to how the "law to ratify international treaties and agreements" looks like, the Iraqi parliament can start discussing the agreement with the US, and it will most likely need another 2/3 majority approval to pass it. Politically, the majority of Iraq's MPs are against singing any agreements with the US as long as the US is occupying Iraq. It's impossible for the Maliki government to get the approval of a simple majority of MPs, let alone 2/3 majority.
I think the US government should consider a different type of agreements with Iraq: an agreement for a complete withdrawal that leaves no troops, no mercenaries, and no permanent bases (and no 5,000 employees embassy either)here is a pretty rough translation of some of Dr. Al-Mashhadani's answers:
Dr. Mahmoud Al-Mashhadani: the Iraqi constitution determines that the House of Representatives must first enact a law to ratify the Law of Treaties and Agreements, and must vote or pass this law through parliament by two-thirds majority. So before discussing the treaty we must enact this law by two thirds, and then submitted to the Presidency ratified it, and then it will go into effect. As before this law nothing can be done because the parliament not ready yet, according to the constitution, to ratify this agreement. It can only do so after the enactment of this law.
This law will take long time to pass due to the two-thirds requirement, so it will not be enacted before the end of this year.
Dr. Mahmoud Al-Mashhadani: We are constitutionally barred from ratifying any agreements without the enactment of this law and the law has not been enacted so far. After enactment of this law we may introduce the agreement and then it must be ratified by whatever majority decided by the law: it might be absolute majority or it might be two-third majority for important international agreements and an absolute majority of economic accords. The intention now that important international agreements will require two-thirds majority, and economic agreements by absolute majority, and perhaps other charters and accords are by simple majority. So, whatever is included in the law and approved by the parliament.
Dr. Mahmoud Al-Mashhadani: the negotiating team is not authorizes to take any decision until they go back to Mr. Prime Minister, if he approved it he will send it to the Political Council for National Security, if approved by the Political Council for National Security with two thirds majority, then they can send it to the parliament. The parliament must wait until it enacts the law to ratify international treaties and agreements, then we can submit the US-Iraqi agreement to the parliament after the approval of this law.
Posted By Raed Jarrar at 12:08 PM
Monday, September 01, 2008
US-Iraqi agreement: leaked
I read about a leaked copy of the US-Iraqi agreement a few days ago when a radio station in Iraq mentioned some of its details, then it was mentioned in some Arab newspapers like Al-Qabas and Al-Sharq Al-Awsat. A couple of days ago, one Iraqi website (linked to an Iraqi armed resistance group) published the leaked draft on their web page for less than a couple of days before their website went offline. (Thankfully, I downloaded the 21 pages agreement and saved them before their server went down)I spent this weekend translating it, and just finished now.
you can read the 27 articles August 6th draft by clicking here or here or here.
The title of this draft is "Agreement regarding the activities and presence of U.S. forces, and its withdrawal from Iraq", but this is the same agreement that is referred to as a "status of forces agreement" or "SOFA" or framework or whatever. It's the result of months of negotiations after Bush and Al-Maliki signed the "Declaration of Principles for a Long-Term Relationship of Cooperation and Friendship Between the Republic of Iraq and the United States of America" by the end of last year.This leaked draft is a treasure of information.
It's the first time any document related to this topic is made public. It shows how weak the Iraqi negotiations team is (it is really pathetic to read their "suggestions" on how to fix the disaster of an agreement).
There are many outrageous articles in the agreement that violates Iraq's sovereignty and independence, and gives the U.S. occupation authorities unprecedented rights and privileges, but what has draw my attention the most (so far) are three major points:
1- the agreement does not discuss anything about a complete US withdrawal from Iraq. Instead, it talks about withdrawing "combat troops" without defining what is the difference between combat troops and other troops. It is very clear that the US is planning to stay indefinitely in permanent bases in Iraq (or as the agreement calls them: "installations and areas agreed upon") where the U.S. will continue training and supporting Iraqis armed forces for the foreseeable future.
2- the agreement goes into effect when the two executive branches exchange "memos", instead of waiting for Iraqi parliament's ratification. This is really dangerous, and it is shocking because both the Iraqi and U.S. executive branches have been assuring the Iraqi parliament that no agreement will go into effect without being ratified by Iraq's MPs.
3- this agreement is the blueprint for keeping other occupation armies (aka Multi-national forces) in Iraq on the long run. This explains the silence regarding what will happed to other occupiers (like the U.K. forces) after the expiration of the UN mandate at the end of this year.
It is really disturbing to read how the U.S. government is still going down the same path of intervention and domination in Iraq.
This agreement will not be accepted by the Iraqi people and their elected representatives in the Iraqi parliament, and if the U.S. and Iraqi executive branches try to consider it valid anyway it will lead to more violence in Iraq.
Posted By Raed Jarrar at 10:33 PM