Iraq’s prime minister is pushing the idea that the U.S. departure is in sight in a bid to sell the security deal with Washington to.
To reinforce the message, the Iraqis are asking for changes to the deal that would effectively rule out extending the U.S. military presence beyond 2011.
By ROBERT H. REID, Associated Press Writer
and his allies are also describing the agreement not as a formula for long-term U.S.-Iraqi security cooperation — the original goal when the talks began earlier this year — but as a way to manage the U.S. withdrawal.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, pictured here in May 2008, said on Friday he will submit the text of the controversial security pact with the United States to all of his country’s neighbours.(AFP/File/Qassem Zein)
It’s unclear whether this will be enough to win over the Iranians and Iraqi critics — or whether the U.S. will go along with the demands submitted by the Iraqi Cabinet this week.
want expanded Iraqi jurisdiction over U.S. troops and elimination of a clause that could allow the soldiers to stay past a tentative Dec. 31, 2011 deadline.
Iran strongly opposes the agreement, fearing it could lead to U.S. troops remaining in a neighboring country indefinitely.
With Iranian sensitivities in mind, the Iraqis also want an explicit ban on the U.S. using Iraqi territory to attack its neighbors — a demand that was reinforced by last Sunday’s U.S. raid against a suspected al-Qaida hideout in Syria.
If Washington won’t bend, key Iraqi politicians believe the deal will never win parliament’s approval. U.S. diplomats are studying the proposals.
But some U.S. officials in Washington have privately expressed doubts about chances to reach an agreement before the U.N. mandate authorizing the U.S. mission expires at the end of next month.