In spite of the Bush Administrations attempts to keep up the appearance that the Iraqi Government welcomes the continued presence of US troops indefinitely, members of the Iraqi Parliament have made numerous attempts to assert the independence of Iraq.
Never has this been more obvious than in recent months where Iraqi leaders have made both public and written statements opposing the continued US presence in their country.
Iraqi’s themselves have long been opposed the presence of US troops, largely because they are seen as a destabilizing factor. According to a recent BBC/ABC poll, 69% of Iraqis believe that the security situation in Baghdad will improve or at least stay the same with the withdraw of US troops.
After the discovery of a secret plan to continue the US military presence in Iraq indefinitely, numerous Iraqi lawmakers have attempted, with little success, to make their wishes known to American lawmakers and the American public. Although the majority of corporate media sources refuse to give voice to the Iraqi’s themselves, the information can be found through alternative sources. For example, “On Tuesday, Democracy Now! spoke to visiting Iraqi lawmakers…in New York. Iraqi parliament member Khalaf Al-Ulayyan criticized the US proposals” stating,
“I believe the parliament will not ratify the treaty in its current form, because it harms Iraqi sovereignty. Based on the details that have been leaked to the media, it seems that the deal will make Iraq not just an occupied country but an actual part of the US.”
And, in a recent letter to the American Congress and Senate, Iraqi lawmakers pointed out that any deal signed solely by the Executive branch, would be both “unconstitutional and illegal” under the current rulings and laws of the Iraqi Republic. According to the Iraqi Constitution Article 61 Section Four, the Iraqi government’s legislative power retains exclusive rights to ratify international treaties and agreements.
Representing the majority of the two-hundred and seventy five members of the Iraqi Parliament, the letter goes on to state,
Likewise, we wish to inform you that the majority of Iraqi representatives strongly reject any military-security, economic, commercial, agricultural, investment, or political agreement with the United States that is not linked to clear mechanism that obligate the occupying military forces to fully withdraw from Iraq, in accordance with a declared timetable and with leaving behind any military bases, soldiers or hired fighters.
The Iraqi Council of Representatives is looking to ratify agreements that end every form of American intervention in Iraq’s internal affairs and restore Iraq’s independence and sovereignty over its land.
According to The Independent newspaper, in response to the resistance met by Iraqi lawmakers, United States negotiators “are using the existence of $20bn in outstanding court judgments against Iraq in the US, to pressure their Iraqi counterparts into accepting the terms of the military deal…The US is holding hostage some $50bn (£25bn) of Iraq's money in the Federal Reserve Bank of New York…” These funds continue to grow as the price of oil climbs, furthering the pressure on Iraqi Lawmakers to accept the deal. This hold on these funds also inhibits the ability of Iraq’s rebuilding efforts as these funds, which under the UN mandate, are specifically for the reconstruction of Iraq including “the wheat purchase program, the currency exchange program, the electricity and oil infrastructure programs, equipment for Iraqis security forces, and for Iraqi civil service salaries and ministry budget operations.”
As Americans continue to debate the continued military presence in Iraq, what seems to elude them is the absolute hypocrisy of claims made by the Bush Administration both in regards to Iraq’s sovereignty and “The War on Terror.” in which he claims, “The rise of a free and self-governing Iraq will deny terrorists a base of operation, discredit their narrow ideology, and give momentum to reformers across the region. This will be a decisive blow to terrorism at the heart of its power, and a victory for the security of America and the civilized world.” Considering that Bush’s solution to terrorism is the establishment of a “free and self-governing Iraq” one would think this issue would be moot. Iraqi leaders and the Iraqi people have shown with little doubt they wish us to leave.
It leaves one to wonder, when will we listen?