27 jul. 2008

Ayatollah Will Not Allow US-Iraq Deal

Iraq's most revered Shia cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani has strongly objected to a 'security accord' between the US and Iraq.

The Grand Ayatollah has reiterated that he would not allow Iraq to sign such a deal with "the US occupiers" as long as he was alive, a source close to Ayatollah Sistani said.
The source added the Grand Ayatollah had voiced his strong objection to the deal during a meeting with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki in the holy city of Najaf on Thursday.
The remarks were made amid reports that the Iraqi government might sign a long-term framework agreement with the United States, under which Washington would be allowed to set up permanent military bases in the country and US citizens would be granted immunity from legal prosecution in the country.
While the mainstream media keep mum about the accord, critics say the agreement would virtually put Iraq under the US tutelage and violate the country's sovereignty.
The source added Ayatollah Sistani, however, backed PM al-Maliki's government and its efforts and that of the nation to establish security in the country.
The mandate of US troops in Iraq will expire in December 2008 and al-Maliki's government is under US pressure to sign 'a mutual security agreement' which would allow the long-term presence of US troops in Iraq.
Washington's plan has so far faced fierce protests by religious figures including Ayatollah Seyyed Kazem Haeri, another senior Shia cleric, and it is expected that other religious figures join the efforts to prevent the deal.
The US has signed similar agreements with countries like Japan and South Korea and thousands of US troops are now stationed in the countries.
The main goals of the agreement:

- A part of the agreement covers issues regarding 'sustainable security': this section of the agreement will allow the US to build 3 to 12 military bases on Iraq's soil to maintain control over the country's military for an indefinite period. Under the agreement Iraqi military and security forces would not be able to carry out any operations independently and they would have to ask for permission from the US Military Command in Iraq. This section of the agreement would virtually result in the colonization of Iraq and would undermine the sovereignty of the country.

- Another section of the agreement would regulate the authority of US troops in Iraq: thorough this section the US would extend the privileges given to its troops and not only its military forces but also private US contractors like Black Water would be granted immunity from prosecution. All visa restrictions would be lifted for US nationals and they could freely travel to the country. In fact such humiliating conditions have never been imposed on any country even the defeated ones after World War II.

- The US would also be able to decide on agreements between Iraq and other nations and it would have the authority to veto any agreements between Iraq and US opponents. This section was in sharp contrast with Iraq's national interests and would have dire consequences for the nation's ties with other Middle Eastern states.

- Iraq's cultural affairs would be controlled by the US. In this way the US would be able to undermine the Islamic identity of Iraq, westernize the country and replace Islamic values with the Western ones.