View Full Version : Iraq Parliament Seeks Timetable, Bush Friendly Iraqi Officials Say Otherwise

05-12-2007, 06:49 AM
Iraq parliament seeks U.S. exit


By Joshua Partlow - WASHINGTON POST
Updated: 05/11/07 7:46 AM

BAGHDAD — A majority of Iraq’s parliament has signed a proposed bill that would require a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. soldiers from Iraq and freeze current troop levels.

The bill would create a timeline for a gradual departure, much like what some Democratic lawmakers in the United States have demanded, and would require the Iraqi government to secure parliament’s approval before any further extensions of the U.N. mandate for foreign troops in Iraq, which expires at the end of this year.

“We haven’t asked for the immediate withdrawal of multinational forces; we asked that we should build our security forces and make them qualified and at that point there would be a withdrawal,” said Baha al- Araji, a parliamentarian allied with the anti-American Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, whose supporters drafted the bill. “But no one can accept the occupation of this country.”

In both Iraq and the United States, there is deepening frustration among lawmakers and the public over President Bush’s troop build-up, a policy that has yet to prevent widespread killing in Iraq. At the same time, Bush and Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki are dispatching their emissaries in an urgent trans- Atlantic gambit to shore up support.

Iraq’s national security adviser, Mowaffak al-Rubaie, was in Washington this week to ask Democratic congressmen to have patience with the troop surge and to not abandon Iraq at such a precarious time.

Wednesday, Vice President Cheney landed in Baghdad to press the government to act quickly on a list of divisive political issues the Bush administration deems necessary for longterm stability.

On his second day in Iraq, Cheney spoke to U.S. soldiers at a base near Tikrit about the difficulties they face each day.

“We are here, above all, because the terrorists who have declared war on America and other free nations have made Iraq the central front in that war,” he said.

“The United States, also, has made a decision: As the prime target of a global war against terror, we will stay on the offensive. We will not sit back and wait to be hit again.”

But as in the United States, Iraq’s lawmakers are moving further away from the views of the government, particularly on the basic issue of American presence in Iraq.

The draft bill is being championed by a 30-member bloc loyal to al-Sadr, but it has also gained support from some other Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish legislators. So far, at least 138 lawmakers have signed the proposed legislation, the slimmest possible majority in the 275- member parliament, according to al-Araji.

“We think that America has committed a grave injustice against the Iraqi people and against the glorious history of Iraq, when they destroyed our institutions, and then rebuilt them in the wrong way,” said Hussein al-Falluji, a lawmaker from the largest Sunni coalition in parliament, and a supporter of the timetable proposal.

Several legislators, including those loyal to al-Maliki, doubted the effort would succeed at a time when Iraqi troops still rely on U.S. firepower.

“I don’t think it’s a good idea. Unless we complete building our forces so we are capable of defending the country, and bringing security to the country, then we are not ready for something like this,” said Hachim al-Hassani, a secular Sunni from the Iraqi National List.

Ali al-Adeeb, a lawmaker from al-Maliki’s Dawa party, said any timetable for American withdrawal should be accompanied by a timetable for training and equipping the Iraqi security forces.

There was also some disagreement over the terms of the proposed timetable legislation. Kurdish lawmaker Mahmoud Othman told the Associated Press he agreed to back the measure on the condition it include an accompanying timeline for the build-up of Iraqi forces, but this was not included in the draft, which he called a “deception.”

The sectarian violence continued on Thursday, as the Islamic State of Iraq, an insurgent coalition that includes al-Qaida in Iraq, posted an Internet video that purports to show the killing of nine Iraqi police and army officers.

The U.S. military said one Marine had been killed Tuesday during fighting in Anbar province in western Iraq. Two other U.S. soldiers died Thursday from gunshot wounds, one in Baghdad and the other in Diwaniyah, south of the capital. The deaths raised the U.S. toll to 3,383 since the war began in March 2003.

Iraqi Officials Discourage U.S. Pullout


Associated Press Writer
Saturday May 12, 2007 10:16 AM

WASHINGTON (AP) - Worried Congress' support for Iraq is deteriorating rapidly, Baghdad dispatched senior officials to Capitol Hill this week to warn members one-on-one that pulling out U.S. troops would have disastrous consequences.

The lobbying push targeted Republicans and Democrats alike, but focused primarily on those considered influential on the war debate. On Thursday, hours before the House voted to limit funds for the war, Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Barham Saleh met with more than 30 House Republicans and more than a half-dozen senators, including Sens. Harry Reid, D-Nev., John Warner, R-Va., and Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y.

"He understands that American patience is waning," said Sen. Norm Coleman, after eating lunch with Saleh, Iraqi Ambassador Samir Shakir al-Sumaidaie and Sen. Saxby Chambliss.

But the lobbying by the Iraqis isn't the only pressure-point being applied in Washington.

Clinton said Friday she considered it "promising" that several Republican House members went to the White House and told President Bush they believe the continuing war is adversely affecting the party.

She said the GOP lawmakers told Bush pointblank that "he has to change course in Iraq." But she also said she didn't think that Bush was ready to reverse course.

"I think we're going to go back and forth on this for a while longer," Clinton said in an interview Friday on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program with Joe Scarborough.

"It is clear that whatever the mission used to be, it is either accomplished or over," she said. "If there are remaining American interests, then let's spell them out."

Baghdad's ability to sell members like Coleman, R-Minn., and Chambliss, R-Ga., on the war effort is critical if the Iraqi government wants U.S. troops to stay. Coleman in recent months has become deeply skeptical of the president's decision to send additional troops to Iraq and says patience on the war in general is limited.

Coleman, Chambliss and Sen. John Sununu, R-N.H., who met separately with Saleh, will be up for re-election next year - facing voters who have grown tired of a war in its fifth year and that has killed more than 3,380 troops. While Republicans have been reluctant to intervene, many say President Bush has until September to tell if the troop buildup in Iraq is working before they demand another approach.

With the clock ticking, Saleh - a Kurdish politician highly regarded by U.S. officials and who speaks impeccable English - said he came to Capitol Hill to convey the "imperative of success" in Iraq.

"Iraq is a central battleground in this historic conflict" against terrorism, he said in a brief interview after meeting with Reid, the Senate majority leader.

His trip came on the heels of a visit by Mowaffak al-Rubaie, the national security adviser to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, along with three other senior advisers, according to the Iraqi embassy. The New York Times first reported al-Rubaie's visit on Tuesday.

The timing of these meetings is no mistake. This month, Congress is expected to send Bush legislation that funds the war in Iraq but requires the Baghdad government meet certain political and security reforms. In question is what consequences the Iraqis should face if they fail. Democrats want U.S. troops to leave, Republicans say they don't want to force redeployments, but some say they would be open to withholding more than $5 billion in foreign aid.

The House voted 221-205 Thursday for a stronger measure that would fund the war only through July, giving Congress the option of cutting off money after that. The bill is unlikely to survive in the Senate, although it indicates the war's unpopularity among members and their frustration with the lack of progress in the Iraqi parliament.

The most recent irritant among U.S. lawmakers was a report that Iraqi officials would break for two months this summer.

"Our armed forces are up to 150,000 troops; we're over $600 billion appropriated for this, lost 3,300 lives, 25,000 wounded fellow citizens. ... And the Iraqi answer? We're taking a summer off. Goin' fishing," said Rep. Rahm Emanuel, D-Ill.

Saleh said he expects the vacation to be shortened by at least a month, although nothing had been decided. He added that Iraqis value being independent and do "not take kindly of (U.S. officials) telling us when to recess."

Democrats seemed to consider these meetings with Iraqi officials as beneficial - if only to convey their frustration to Iraqi officials in person.

Reid's spokesman Jim Manley said the senator told Saleh that "U.S. patience, blood and treasure were not unlimited and that the Congress would be taking a more decisive role in the coming weeks and months."

"Salih understood the point, and said he would deliver the message to the Iraqi cabinet," Manley added.

05-12-2007, 06:52 AM
Any of those statements in red remind you of any fascist politicians sitting in the White House?

05-12-2007, 07:36 AM
Only those with dual citizenship with Israel ....I'm pretty sure "Iraq is a central battleground in this historic conflict" is speaking of an older conflict than that mess in 1991. I have a small problem with US Government officials having dual citizenship with any other country ....let alone a country so intertwined with conflict in that region. It's time to cut the cord folks ....bouncing baby Israel (not the Hebrew religion) is all grown up now ....so much in fact he/she/it keeps mouthing off and disobeying Daddy ....it may be time for he/she/it to start looking for an apartment and get out of the US's basement.

05-12-2007, 07:42 AM
No, it's not only those individuals. Those are two of the most often spoken talking points throughout the administration. Pulling out would have disastrous consequences, and Iraq is the central battleground in the "War On Terror." We're fighting them over there so we don't have to fight them here. The Terrorists chose Iraq as the central battleground for the "War On Terror", etc... etc...

05-12-2007, 07:42 AM
And he's right. It is historic. Much like the Holocaust.

05-12-2007, 07:48 AM
Have the Nazi's invaded Iraq? .....oohhhh wait...they sure have.