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Iraq: Sovereignty vs power
by Al-Ahram Weekly (reposted)
Sunday Jun 22nd, 2008 9:26 AM
The proposed Iraqi-US agreement allowing American forces to remain in the country after their UN mandate expires is already exacerbating Iraq's problems, writes Salah Hemeid
Iraqi leaders, who must decide soon on a controversial strategic pact to extend the American military presence in Iraq, have few doubts about what their beleaguered country needs. At a meeting on Sunday to review the latest version of the agreement senior Iraqi leaders made it clear that what the Americans are offering is more than they can swallow.

"The council unanimously agrees that this agreement must take into consideration Iraq's sovereignty, in all aspects, and that it should not include any provisions that infringe on the interests of the Iraqi people," said the Iraqi leaders in a statement following a meeting of the Political Council, an assembly of senior representatives of Iraq's various factions.

Two days before the meeting Iraq's Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki said talks with the United States on a long-term security pact had reached a dead-end over objections relating to Iraq's sovereignty. His statement in Amman, Jordan, was the strongest yet in a debate which echoed the concerns of many Iraqis that the US proposals give Washington too much political and military leverage.