Monday, October 20, 2008




Now The Rules May Apply To All, Including The Bush Crime Family

Consigliere Cheney better get a few hits out before he leaves office. It seems the Tattaglia's, er, Iraqi's are gunning for him. This breaks all the rules established by the Five Families, er, Bush Administration and the Chalabi Mob, er, government. Bush and Company were to have complete immunity from all prosecutions and lawsuits for all the many, many, many crimes and torts they committed. The puppet government was supposed to maintain their guarantee of that. Now, all of a sudden, they act like they think they are an independent sovereign nation, possibly saddled with an unwelcome and overlong occupation that has had many ill effects. Next, they'll be wanting their country back, and their oil, those mooks! Vito, Gianni, Petraeus, take 'em out!

"Iraqi Shi'ite says Maliki wary of U.S. pact"
Hey, these guys actually think they're a legitimate government, now!

' Iraq's Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has criticized the draft of a pact that would allow U.S. troops to stay in the country for three years, a senior member of Maliki's ruling Shi'ite alliance said Tuesday. The remarks are the latest sign the draft, agreed last week after months of painstaking talks between Washington and Baghdad, may not survive Iraq's political process intact. "The prime minister said: what (the Americans) have given with the right hand they have taken away with the left hand," said Humam Hamoudi, a senior parliamentarian from the Shi'ite alliance which includes Maliki's Dawa Party. "For example, they said the U.S. forces will withdraw from towns by June 2009 if the security situation permits that. But who will decide that?" Hamoudi told a news conference. "They put terms and conditions into these articles. Those terms will be subjected to veto. This means it is as if they gave nothing. We will try to lift those conditions." '



"Iraqi Public Opinion on the Presence of US Troops"
These people suddenly think they got rights!
' DR. KULL: Thank you for inviting me to speak. Today I will be addressing the question of how the Iraqi people view the presence of US troops in Iraq and, more importantly, what they want to see happen in the future. As I will demonstrate, the Iraqi people are showing signs of impatience with the pace of US withdrawal. Now one may ask why this matters. Obviously the Iraqi people will not be negotiating the agreements about US forces in Iraq. As long as the government wants US troops there, one may believe that it does not matter what the Iraqi public thinks. However, it does appear that the Iraqi government is paying attention to the Iraqi public. As you probably know, 144 of the 275 members of Parliament signed a letter calling for a timetable for the withdrawal of US troops, citing as a key reason the attitudes of the Iraqi people. This call for a timetable was then reiterated in the June 3rd letter presented to the US Congress from representatives of the Iraqi Parliament. Just in the last few days Prime Minister Maliki has been increasingly aligning himself with this public pressure. This may well be influenced by the prospect of upcoming elections. Thus, if the US government wishes to play a constructive role in the future of Iraq it behooves us to understand better the dynamics of public opinion and thus the forces of the political universe within which Iraqi leaders are operating. Furthermore, Iraqis' attitudes about US forces are likely to affect their readiness to cooperate with coalition efforts to fight the insurgency, or even their readiness to support the insurgency. There is evidence that many Iraqis do support attacks on US troops and that this attitude is related to perceptions of US long-term intentions in Iraq. Thus dealing with these perceptions is critical to the success of the mission. '

"Iraqis Balk at a U.S. Troop Deal, but Can They Say Goodbye? "
What, they got political Parties over there, now? Madonn'!
' It would not have surprised Iraq's Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki, that tens of thousands of supporters of Muqtada al-Sadr, the populist Shi'ite cleric and militia leader, took to the streets on Saturday to protest a provisional security accord between Iraq and the U.S. Al-Sadr, after all, is an anti-American firebrand, and the Status of Forces agreement under negotiation between Washington and Baghdad would legitimize the continued presence in Iraq of U.S. troops, who have been deployed against al-Sadr's militia. And in March, al-Maliki had ordered Iraqi government forces to drive al-Sadr's Mahdi Army out of Basra. But if Sadr could be expected to have a beef with the proposed agreement, what should be more troubling to al-Maliki is that members of his own coalition are washing their hands of the deal. Until Sunday, the American and Iraqi governments had been inching toward a deal that would create a legal basis for the U.S. military to remain in Iraq once its U.N. mandate expires on Dec. 31. The draft version of the agreement — leaked earlier this month by the American side — also lays out a time line for U.S. withdrawal: American forces would leave Iraqi cities and towns by the end of June 2009 and be stationed on large bases until they're withdrawn from Iraq by the end of 2011. Washington made further concessions as well, allowing American soldiers to be subject to Iraqi legal jurisdiction for crimes committed while off duty and off base. But that wasn't enough to satisfy members of al-Maliki's United Iraq Alliance coalition, who have asked that negotiations be reopened. The problem may be less any one particular provision than it is the agreement itself. Despite the security gains achieved over the past year, most Iraqis want the foreign soldiers to leave — and with provincial elections scheduled for January of 2009, Iraqi politicians don't want their fingerprints on the document. Tellingly, the only politicians at Saturday's meeting of Iraq's security council who did voice full support for the proposed agreement were from the placid Kurdish-controlled region of northern Iraq — where, unlike in the rest of the country, the U.S. army is much loved but little seen. '

"U.S.-Iraq Deal Could Mean Jail Time for Contractors"
Better hide out in Sicily for a while, guys. And watch ya back, hanh?
' Not too long ago, private security contractors in Iraq had a get-out-of-jail-free card; they could run around the country, without a chance in the world that they could be prosecuted for anything they did. A draft of the U.S.-Iraq security deal, now making the rounds in Washington and Baghdad, could change all that. Guns-for-hire in Iraq could suddenly find themselves facing time in an Iraqi prison, if they broke the local laws. The agreement has not been finalized, but it seems to point the way to an eventual drawdown of U.S. combat forces -- perhaps as early as 2012. One of the major sticking points for the status of forces agreement (SOFA) has been the legal status of U.S. troops -- and the contractors they bring in tow. Sen. Carl Levin, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said he would reserve judgment on the deal until he could more closely review the legal safeguards for service members. "It's critical that our dedicated men and women in uniform serving in Iraq have full legal protections and are not subject to criminal prosecution in an Iraqi judicial system that does not meet due process standards," he said. '

"Oil in a Week (International Oil Companies Return to Iraq)"
No. Not the oil! That's OUR freakin' oil!
' The return of international oil companies to Iraq continues to instigate an old debate in this country. Politicians had objected to the presence of foreign firms and the rights they demand through the numerous accusations they had directed at previous governments on this matter. With time, the issue became worse and more complicated, subjecting the country's entire oil policy to accusations which have obstructed the development of this sector in comparison to what neighboring nations have accomplished. Although the issue is still limited to general principles, new developments can be cited, including the role of oil in the invasion of Iraq in 2003, the possibility of adopting an independent oil policy that takes into consideration the interests of Iraq while it remains under occupation, and the issue of transparency during negotiations at a time when corruption prevails on the national level. It was remarkable that the first contract for the development of an Iraqi field since 2003 was signed with a Chinese company followed by another signed with a European party. Ultimately, American contracts with American companies are likely to follow soon, especially when the offers are made for huge fields. It is possible that the ministry of oil has not granted any contracts to American firms by successfully resisting pressures, but the truth is that the country has been under occupation since 2003. Regardless of the occupation, the fact remains that American firms are the largest and the most prominent in the global oil industry such that they are impossible to ignore. Hence, they will eventually play a role in Iraq's oil industry since Iraq has decided to open up to international firms. Once again, what matters here is the nature and conditions of contracts. '

[Cross-posted at blog me no blogs.]