Iraqi officials call for radical reduction of US Armys role in countrys affairs

June 11th, 2008 - 2:42 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, June 11 (ANI): Iraqi politicians have denounced the US demand of 50 military bases, control of Iraqi airspace and legal immunity for all American soldiers, and called for radical reduction of the militarys role.

Top Iraqi officials are calling for a radical reduction of the US militarys role here after the UN mandate authorizing its presence expires at the end of this year, The Washington Post reported.

Encouraged by recent Iraqi military successes, government officials have said that the US should agree to confine American troops to military bases unless the Iraqis ask for their assistance, with some saying that Iraq might be better off without them.

The Americans are making demands that would lead to the colonisation of Iraq, said Sami al-Askari, a senior Shiite politician on parliaments foreign relations committee.

If we cant reach a fair agreement, many people think we should say, Goodbye, US troops. We don’t need you here anymore, he added.

Failing to reach agreements this year authorising the future presence of American forces in Iraq would be a strategic setback for the Bush Administration, which says that such a presence is essential to promoting stability.

Absent the agreements or the extension of the UN mandate, American troops would have no legal basis to remain in Iraq.

US officials have refused to publicly discuss details of the negotiations. But Iraqi politicians have become more open in their descriptions of the talks, stoking popular anger at American demands that Iraqis across the political spectrum view as a form of continued occupation.

What the US wants is to take the current status quo and try to regulate it in a new agreement. And what we want is greater respect for Iraqi sovereignty, said Haider al-Abadi, an Iraqi parliament member.

Iraqi officials plan to present the status of forces document and the security framework to parliament as a single agreement.

Iraqi officials also said that the US also demanded the continuation of several current policies like authority to detain and hold Iraqis without turning them over to the Iraqi judicial system, immunity from Iraqi prosecution for both US troops and private contractors, and the prerogative for US forces to conduct operations without approval from the Iraqi Government.

If the talks collapse, several Iraqi officials said, they would request another one-year extension of the UN mandate. But Iraqi officials said they would also ask for modifications to the mandate similar to those they are seeking in the current negotiations. (ANI)

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