Iraq's government, seeking protection against foreign threats and internal coups, will offer the U.S. a long-term troop presence in Iraq in return for U.S. security guarantees as part of a strategic partnership, two Iraqi officials said Monday.
The proposal, described to The Associated Press by two senior Iraqi officials familiar with the issue, is one of the first indications that the United States and Iraq are beginning to explore what their relationship might look like once the U.S. significantly draws down its troop presence.
In Washington, President Bush's adviser on the Iraqi war, Lt. Gen. Douglas Lute, confirmed the proposal, calling it "a set of principles from which to begin formal negotiations."
Full article here from the Associated Press
U.S. and Iraq to Negotiate Pact on Long-Term Relations
The White House announced Monday that it had reached a deal with the Iraqi government to negotiate a formal agreement defining long-term relations between the two nations, including the legal status of American military forces remaining in Iraq.
The “Declaration of Principles” signed Monday via video link by President Bush and the Iraqi prime minister, Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, does not specify the eventual number of American troops nor the length of their deployment. That issue is certain to be central in the 2008 presidential campaign that will be under way as American and Iraqi negotiators work toward a July deadline on a treaty governing relations between the two countries.
But senior administration officials stressed the significance of the agreement signed Monday, saying that it was leading to a far more durable political, economic and security relationship than is possible under the current United Nations resolution, which serves as the foundation under international law for the American-led effort in Iraq.
Full article here from the New York Times
Moveon.org is currently circulating a petition campaign to address this issue but you need to be a member to sign up:
Have you seen the headlines? President Bush is quietly negotiating an agreement with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to keep our troops there indefinitely--an agreement that could include permanent bases and a massive military presence for years! Bush is trying to tie the hands of the next administration to keep us in Iraq for the foreseeable future.
This is a pivotal moment—the agreement is still in the planning stages and if we don't act now, we could be stuck in Iraq for decades.
Congress can stop the president from setting up permanent bases in Iraq and block an indefinite occupation—but it's not clear that they will. They need to feel a groundswell of pressure from voters immediately and loudly so they act on this quickly.
Can you sign the petition demanding that Congress act to stop the president from committing to a massive military presence in Iraq for decades?