ondoleezza Rice is destined to fail, said Iran’s Jomhuri-ye Eslami in an editorial. The U.S. secretary of state will never get the Iraqis to sign the security agreement with the U.S. that she has drafted. The Americans want the agreement to leave the date of their troops’ withdrawal open, while the Iraqis rightly insist on a firm deadline. Moreover, the Americans demand that their soldiers get immunity from prosecution for all the crimes they have committed against the Iraqi people. With those two provisions in place, “the word ‘security’ in that agreement obviously means safeguarding American security,” not Iraqi security.
Those aren’t the only stumbling blocks, said Salam Abbud in Iraq’s Ahewar.org. We have yet to see the full text of the draft agreement, but according to the many leaks—by both U.S. and Iraqi officials—there are plenty of reasons for Iraqis to oppose it. One clause requires Iraq to cooperate with U.S. allies in the war on terror, which sounds benign until you consider that “this is tantamount to cooperation with Israel.” Another clause apparently gives the U.S. ambassador the freedom to arrest anyone at will, “even the Iraqi prime minister.” Worst of all, the agreement stipulates that the U.S. supervise all Iraqi export revenues, investments, and contracts, meaning that the most lucrative deals will surely go to American companies.
Why are we even contemplating signing an agreement with an occupier? asked Kamal al-Kisi in Iraq’s Kitabat. Evidently some of our leaders “have come to view the occupier as sincere in his desire to establish a democratic Iraq.” They are sadly duped. The occupation is “the appropriation of a free nation, the destruction of a country, and the subjugation of its people.” To reach an accord with the occupier is to sell our souls. Iraqis must continue to fight. The only just end to the occupation is one that returns full sovereignty to Iraqis alone.
Unfortunately, we can’t trust the Iraqis to safeguard their sovereignty, said Ghassan Charbel in the Saudi-owned Al-Hayat. Iran has insinuated itself into the very fabric of the Iraqi domestic scene, with “a strong presence in Baghdad, Najaf, and Basra, as well as in the government and parliament.” Were the Americans to pull out of Iraq tomorrow, Iran would soon control the country—and by extension much of the Mideast. As distasteful as it may be, at least “a continued U.S. presence in Iraq will set a boundary on the Iranian influence.”
It’s true that for now we still need the Americans, said Hassan Al-Ashur in Iraq’s Al-Sabah. Iraqi forces simply are not ready to fill the vacuum that a U.S. pullout would create. Our soldiers are not yet certain where their first loyalty lies—to their religious sect, to their political party, or to the Iraqi nation. “Before demanding a U.S. withdrawal, we must cultivate true nationalism in our hearts—the kind that places the good of the country above all other considerations.”
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