Global Policy Forum

Iraq Seeks Long-Term US Security Pact

New York Times
September 30, 2007

Iraq wants the United Nations Security Council to extend the mandate of the United States-led multinational force in Iraq only through the end of 2008, then replace it with a long-term bilateral security agreement, Foreign Ministry officials said Saturday. Aides to Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said the mandate extension for the 160,000-strong force, scheduled to be discussed at the end of this year, would be the last. Iraq would then seek an agreement with the United States like the ones Washington has with Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Qatar and Egypt, they said. "Iraq needs a new resolution to determine the shape of the relationship between the two countries and how to cooperate with the U.S. forces," said Labid Abawi, deputy foreign minister.

Mr. Zebari first disclosed the plan in an interview with the London-based, Saudi-owned newspaper Asharq al Awsat that was published Saturday. "We will ask the Council to include an article that allows Iraq to enter into negotiations with the United States to reach long-term security agreements to meet Iraq's security needs bilaterally," Mr. Zebari was quoted as saying in the article. He said the bilateral agreement would "not set a timetable" for the withdrawal of United States forces, but that it "could include an article that calls for decreasing their numbers."

A resolution adopted unanimously by the Security Council on June 8, 2004, decreed that the multinational force would remain in Iraq at the request of the interim government that was about to assume control of the country from the United States and Britain. The resolution, drafted by the United States, authorized a review of the mandate at the request of the Iraqi government every six months. The mandate was last extended for one year on Dec. 31 and expires at end of this year.

A United States military panel in Baghdad on Saturday sentenced an Army sniper to five months in prison, a reduction in rank and forfeiture of pay for planting evidence in the death of an Iraqi civilian.Specialist Jorge G. Sandoval Jr., 22, was acquitted of murder charges in the April and May deaths of two unidentified men. The panel decided he was guilty of a lesser charge of placing detonation wire on one of the bodies to make it look as if the man were an insurgent. "I feel fortunate that I have been served this sentence," Specialist Sandoval said. "I'm grateful that I'm able to continue to be in the Army." The prosecution had argued that Mr. Sandoval should be sentenced to five years in prison.

In Iraq on Saturday, a suicide bomber detonated himself near a Humvee filled with Iraqi soldiers near Mosul, killing three soldiers and three civilians, an Iraqi officer said. Late on Friday, Iraq's prime minister told The Associated Press that a Senate proposal to divide Iraq into federal regions according to religious or ethnic divisions would be a "catastrophe." "It is an Iraqi affair dealing with Iraqis," Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki told The A.P. on a return flight to Baghdad from New York, where he had appeared at the United Nations General Assembly. "Iraqis are eager for Iraq's unity," he said. "Dividing Iraq is a problem, and a decision like that would be a catastrophe." The nonbinding Senate resolution calls for Iraq to be divided into federal regions under control of Kurds, Shiites and Sunnis in a power-sharing agreement similar to the one that ended the 1990s war in Bosnia. Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr., a Democrat from Delaware, was a prime sponsor of the measure.

The Kurds in three northern Iraqi provinces are running a virtually independent country within Iraq, while nominally maintaining relations with Baghdad. They support a formal division, but both Sunni and Shiite Arabs have denounced the proposal. The majority Shiites oppose the measure because it would diminish the territorial integrity of Iraq, which they now control. Sunnis would control an area with few if any oil resources. Kurds have major oil reserves in their territory.

More Information on Iraq
More Information on Iraq's Government
More Information on UN Role in Iraq
More Information on Withdrawal?
More Information on Occupation and Rule in Iraq


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