Thursday, June 5, 2008

Breaking News: Bushies Already Sabotaging Obama Plans For Troop Withdrawals

By Manifesto Joe

If Barack Obama wins the presidency in November, he may be stepping into a foreign policy minefield come January, courtesy of the Bush administration. The Independent (U.K.) newspaper reports that it received leaked information of a secret plan being negotiated in Baghdad that would establish 50 U.S. military bases, give the U.S. control of Iraqi airspace and give all American soldiers and contractors legal immunity.

It's finally here -- the Iraq 100 Years War Plan. It doesn't take much imagination to conjure up a more or less permanent insurgency, a permanent state of low-grade warfare. Maybe the neocons will tell us to look on the bright side -- all those unemployed and underemployed young poor and working-class men and women will have three-year contract jobs awaiting them, for decades to come.

The al-Maliki government is reportedly torn, basically opposing the idea but scared shitless that it can't be viable without being propped up by U.S. military force. It shapes up into a no-win situation for most concerned parties: The Independent reports that the terms of the deal that the Bush administration wants "are likely to have an explosive political effect in Iraq."

This deal would pretty much show the hand of what the Bush junta wanted all along -- a permanent military base in the Middle East, under cover of a puppet government, theoretically forming a bulwark against Iran and eventually giving the U.S. an inside track on all that light sweet crude.

If Obama is elected, he might be forced into the position of deal-breaker. There's a lot of money riding on this one, too.

Fasten your seat belts -- it's going to be a bumpy ride.

Manifesto Joe Is An Underground Writer Living In Texas.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Shocking News from Iraq: Maliki Rejected Bush's Agreement and Wrote His Own
Submitted by Bob Fertik on June 3, 2008 - 8:55am.

* Iraq Permanent Bases
* OutOfIraq

In the flurry of news stories over the weekend about the status of the crucial Bush-Maliki agreement to keep U.S. troops in Iraq after January 1, the most important fact was entirely overlooked by the U.S. media: Maliki has obviously rejected Bush's proposal, because he has written his own.

Chief government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said the Iraqi negotiators have a "vision and a draft that is different" from the Americans but that the talks, which began in March, were still in an early stage.

Interestingly, that shocking news was reported only by Robert H. Reid of the AP, and not by Richard Oppel Jr. and Stephen Farrell of the NY Times. Did "OppRell" (remember "WoodStein" from Watergate?) not know about the Maliki draft, or did they (or their editors or Dick Cheney) not want to tell their readers to continue to "catapult the propaganda"?

For a weak and dependent leader like Maliki, rejecting Bush's draft and substituting his own is a huge act of defiance.

It tells us Maliki wants an agreement with the U.S., but Bush simply wasn't willing to modify his terms enough to satisfy Maliki's needs. Obviously Maliki told Bush his terms and Bush said no.

(When I write "Bush" I should probably write "Cheney," but for simplicity's sake I'll stick to "Bush.")

What are the key sticking points in the negotiations? According to OppRell,

The Americans want to continue to have “a free hand” to arrest Iraqis and carry out military operations, and they want authority for more than 50 long-term military bases, Mr. Adeeb said. He said that he doubted that a security pact along the lines sought by the Americans would pass in the Iraqi Parliament.

Mr. Abadi, another senior member of Dawa, said Americans were insisting on keeping control of Iraqi airspace and retaining legal immunity for American troops, contractors and private security guards.

There's the key word that I keep harping on - full immunity for Americans, even if they steal, rape, kidnap, torture, or murder - all of which has been documented by the U.S. media.

As with the issue of warrantless wiretapping, full immunity is Bush's bottom line. That's why he's been unable to cut a deal with Congress on FISA: because House Democrats refuse to give him full immunity, due to unrelenting pressure from the Netroots (yay us!!!).

Immunity is crucial to Bush because he refuses to operate within any laws, and he wants his governmental and non-governmental agents to have the same unlimited power he has.

(As Andrew Tilghman points out at TPM, Bush is trying to privatize as much as of the occupation as he can. But contractors would be even more vulnerable than soldiers if Americans lost immunity because Iraqi officials would have fewer qualms about arresting non-uniformed Americans, and American employees can sue their employers, unlike soldiers.)

Unfortunately for Bush, he can't preserve immunity for Americans in Iraq by himself - he needs Maliki to agree. So for the first time in Bush's Presidency, he is unable to simply impose his will.

No doubt he is putting tremendous pressure on Maliki. So why did Maliki take the extraordinary step of rejecting Bush's draft agreement and writing his own?

Maliki is conflicted about U.S. troops. On the one hand, Maliki's government is weak, and so is his military. Without U.S. troops propping him up, he would be unable to defeat Moqtada Al-Sadr's large militia - at least for now.

But on the other hand, most Iraqis bitterly resent our presence, even if they are not actively trying to kill us. Maliki, as an elected leader, has to be responsive to the will of the Iraqi people.

So Maliki wants U.S. troops, but only up to a point. And that's exactly why his negotiations with Bush over the fine print of a bilateral agreement are stuck.

Which brings us back to Bush. If Bush wanted to reach an agreement with Maliki to keep U.S. troops in Iraq for a while on terms that were acceptable to Maliki, he could probably find a way to meet Maliki half-way.

But Maliki is both unwilling and unable (due to pressure from the Iraqi people, the Iraqi parliament, Al-Sadr, and even Ayatollah al-Sistani) to accept full immunity as part of the terms of the agreement.

So if the positions of Bush and Maliki are fundamentally irreconcilable, will there be an agreement by the crucial deadline of December 31?

Maliki has the upper hand in his negotiations with Bush. Even without an agreement, he knows U.S. troops will be there to keep him in power. He knows McCain will keep our troops there forever, and even Obama will only remove one combat brigade per month over 16 months and leave a residual force after that.

So he has no important reason to sign any agreement with lame-duck Bush, and every reason to try to negotiate a better one with Bush's successor.

On the other hand, Bush desperately needs an agreement that preserves full immunity after December 31, or U.S. troops and contractors will be subject to Iraqi law. Without an immunity agreement, Maliki would have full power to enforce Iraqi law by arresting a U.S. soldier or contractor any time he wanted.

Since Bush is desperate and Maliki isn't, Maliki clearly has the upper hand. That means Bush has a choice: either to agree to Maliki's document with limited modifications that are acceptable to the Iraqi people, or get no agreement at all.

Bush's entire Presidency has been devoted to the idea that Bush never negotiates on key points. But with time running out on his presidency, and with Maliki looking beyond Bush to the next president, it it looks like Bush finally has no choice but to accept Maliki's broad framework and get the best deal he can on the crucial details, especially on the question of immunity.

I can't wait to read what Maliki's document actually says...

Update 1: According to Reuters, Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh says the Bushevik promise of a agreement in July is officially off the table:

"I don't think that we can meet this date. There is a difference in viewpoints between Iraq and the U.S. I don't think that time is enough to end this gap and to reach a joint understanding ... Therefore, we are not committed to July as a deadline," he told al-Arabiya television.

So what fantasy date will the Busheviks float next? And when will Congress realize there won't be an agreement by January 1?

Update 2: More shocking news: Maliki is discussing the US-Iraq agreement with the leaders of our undeclared enemy Iran!

Iraq's Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki will visit Iran next week to strengthen political and economic ties between the two countries, Iran's state-run Islamic Republic News Agency quoted Iraqi ambassador to Iran Abu Heidar al-Sheikh as saying on Tuesday.

Al-Maliki would discuss with Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on the security pact between Iraq and the U.S., al-Sheikh told reporters.

If anything would send Bush back to the bottle (or was it cocaine? Bush told Scotty he simply can't remember), this is it.