Saturday, June 7, 2008

US Blackmails Iraq on Security Agreement

Patrick Coburn of the Independent has reported that the US is threatening to seize $20 billion of Iraq reserves held at the New York Fed if the Iraqi government does not agree to a security agreement granting the US 50 military bases and freedom of action for the US military and legal immunity for both the US military and private US contracters in Iraq. US Ambassador Ryan Crocker has said the US is not demanding permanent bases, but has not denied the other parts and admits that a tough negotiation is going on.

Indeed, it appears that pretty much every political leader in Iraq opposes it, including Abdel-aziz al Hakim, leader of the largest party (SIIC) and part of the government, along with the most influential cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, and even Premier al Maliki's party, al-Da'wa, has split over it according to Juan Cole today. For Coburn's story see "US issues threat to Iraq's $50bn foreign reserves in military deal".

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