Bush forced to rethink plan to keep Iraq bases

Faced with Iraqi anger over a US plan to enable Washington to keep military forces in the country indefinitely, George Bush is offering concessions to the government of Nouri al-Maliki in an effort to
salvage an agreement, it emerged yesterday.

bush rome

The proposed terms of the impending deal, which were first revealed in The Independent, have had a predictably explosive political effect inside Iraq. Negotiations between Washington and Baghdad grew fraught, with Iraqi politicians denouncing US demands to maintain a permanent grip on the country through the establishment of permanent military
bases.

Officials complained that the plan which allows US troops to occupy permanent bases, conduct military operations, arrest Iraqis and enjoy immunity from Iraqi law, would turn Iraq into a colony of the US, and
create the conditions for unending conflict both in Iraq and the Middle East.

With Washington’s Iraqi allies rising up in revolt against the plans, Mr Bush ordered a negotiating shift this weekend after speaking to Mr Maliki, the Iraqi Prime Minister. “Now the American position is much
more positive and more flexible than before,” a leading Iraqi negotiator in the talks was quoted as saying.

Senior Iraqi officials want a major reduction of the US military footprint in Iraq as soon as the UN Security Council mandate approving their presence expires at the end of the year. Iraqi officials also want US forces confined to barracks unless the Iraqis ask for their assistance. Emboldened by recent successes by Iraqi security forces, many officials want the US troops to leave altogether.

Full Article: www.insight-info.com

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