So far, at least, the only political bloc in Iraq to support the US-Iraq agreement that would allow the continuation of the American occupation are the Kurds. It doesn’t look like there will be any agreement at all before November, and possibly — as I’ve been predicting since last spring — they simply won’t reach an accord at all.
According to ABC, the proposed accord calls for a 2011 timetable for an American withdrawal without adding conditions, i.e., without linking the withdrawal to the security situation. ABC got ahold of the text of the accord, which so far, at least, hasn’t even been shared with Congress, even though the Bush administration is lobbying Congress to support the deal. Says ABC:
The United States has agreed to a firm deadline for withdrawing combat troops from Iraq that does not set preconditions that must be met, according to a copy of an agreement reached recently and obtained by ABC News.
Doom and gloom is coming from Admiral Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs. Here’s what he said, according to a report from AFP:
“We are clearly running out of time,” said Mullen. … “It is also clear that the Iranians are working very hard to make sure this does not pass. This should not be lost on the Iraqi people. … It’s time for the Iraqis to make a decision.”
Mullen will be disappointed, however. The proposed text has been submitted to the Iraqi Cabinet, which was supposed to send it to the parliament, but now the cabinet wants more changes. Foreign Minister Zebari of Iraq said that it is “unlikely that the Iraqi parliament will approve the SOFA [Status of Forces Agreement] before the American presidential election on November 4.”
Making the chances for a pact worse, Grand Ayatollah Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah, the pro-Iran Shiite clerical leader in Lebanon — who has lots of connections in Iraq, and who is himself an Iraqi — called for an immediate end of the occupation, in a fatwa, and added:
“No authority, establishment or an official or nonofficial organization has the legitimacy to impose occupation on its people, legitimize it or extend its stay in Iraq,”
Fadlallah said that any pact should call for an “unconditional withdrawal of occupation forces from Iraq,” and put a “fixed and imminent timetable for a complete American withdrawal from Iraq.”