Thu, 09 Oct 2008
Iraqi MPs say the US is using the country's debts as leverage to force Baghdad into signing the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA). "Baghdad is under pressure by Washington to accept the security deal in exchange for clearing all of Iraq's debts," Iraqi lawmaker Mohammed Kamid al-Humedawi told Press TV on Wednesday.
The US will be allowed to set up permanent military bases, if Iraq signs the agreement. Under the deal the US forces will also be granted immunity from legal prosecution inside their bases in Iraq.
Iraqi parliamentarians, including MPs from the Sadr movement, however, reiterated that they will not approve the deal that is going “to turn the country into a US colony”. "We do not accept any agreement that disregards Iraq's sovereignty" said MP Nassin al-Essawi, adding that "As an Iraqi lawmaker I believe this agreement is not in the interest of the Iraqi people.”
This is while a group of US officials arrived in Baghdad to discuss the controversial deal. But Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has warned that any interference by US officials would only complicate the situation and even could have negative results. The Premier had earlier declared that any agreement with the United States should consider the country's sovereignty and national interests.