McClatchy Newspapers report according to Iraq’s Sunni vice president, the U.S. and Iraq won’t reach accord on troops this year. “The United Nations mandate that authorizes the U.S. military presence in Iraq will expire on Dec. 31 and without a so-called status of forces agreement, it’s questionable whether the U.S. will have a legitimate right to maintain its troops in Iraq, Vice President Tariq al Hashimi” said. He is concerned violence will increase as the U.N. mandate expires.
The main point of contention is jurisdiction. Maliki has been pressing for jurisdiction to prosecute U.S. troops when they aren’t on their bases, which the U.S. has so far refused to permit.
“The impression of the Iraqi people is that American troops from time to time exaggerate their reactions, use excessive force and irresponsible behavior,” Hashimi said. “We would like to put an end to that. When this happens in the future there must be prosecution of those who are exceeding the limit of the authorities given to them.”
The U.S. government has said that the mandate must be renewed if no agreement is reached, or U.S. forces will withdraw, Hashimi said. But it takes time to pull out more 130,000 troops, presenting a new problem about who’d have jurisdiction during a technically illegal occupation.
The Washington Post adds that with time running out and Lacking an accord On troops, the U.S. and Iraq seek a Plan B.
Neither side finds the options attractive. One possibility is an extension of the United Nations mandate that expires at the end of the year. That would require a Security Council vote that both governments believe could be complicated by Russia or others opposed to the U.S.-led war. Another alternative would amount to a simple handshake agreement between Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and President Bush to leave things as they are until a new deal, under a new U.S. administration, can be negotiated…
U.S. officials do not dispute that the absence of an agreement would probably require an immediate end to combat operations and, at a minimum, confinement to bases on Jan. 1.
Meanwhile, McClatchy Newspapers report Iraqis are being attacked and killed for returning to their homes. Only a small number of the nearly 5 million Iraqi refugess have made an attempt to return home. Many are being attacked upon their return or having “their homes blown up.”
Sectarian cleansing has helped to reduce the violence in Iraq to a four-year low, but the small number of returnees who’ve been targeted so far could be a warning that the violence could return, too.
I wonder if Iraq, like the markets, will implode too before Bush escapes office. The “surge” was designed to buy Bush enough time to get clear, but their are signs of the lid coming off the pot.
Four at Four continues with election day in Canada, Brazil’s dam projects, Paraguay’s landless, protecting forests instead of cutting greenhouse emissions, and a bonus graphic of the stock markets compared under Democratic and Republican administrations.