Iraqi Parliament Standing Up Against The Empire

Last week we published an article “Bush Agrees to Timetable” that gave a 100 mile flyover of the “sticky situation” the Bush Administration is in with regards to its Iraq policy. Over the weekend public reporting of the issue has matured and it seems that the security agreement being pushed by the U.S. is not only in a fragile state, but also unlikely to pass in its current form.

With Iraqi legislators on the offensive against the proposed agreement, they are positioning themselves to make the greatest challenge to neoconservative-inspired U.S. foreign policy seen in years, a political move Congressional Democrats have been unwilling to take since their 2006 assent into power.

Since this issue of the U.S.-Iraq Military Security Agreement is usually under-reported by American media, many readers may wonder how does this agreement, or more specifically the politics surrounding it, potentially provide a significant challenge to U.S. hegemony. Most fundamentally it changes the playing field by putting the United States on the defensive in regards to its Iraq policy. This change occurs because if the United States and Iraq do not reach an agreement by December 31st then the United States, under the system of international law it created and maintains, will be required to cease current operations until a settlement is reached. Bolstered by this change, lawmakers appear to be willing to assert their obligations to uphold the interest of their various constituent factions to a greater extent than the more developed “democracy” in the United States. On Sunday, USA Today reported the ruling Shiite coalition withheld its support of the agreement, which would give Iraq minimal jurisdiction over US soldiers and would call for a removal of all combat troops within three years. The Iranian government is also expressing its displeasure with the agreement and it is assumed they will use their influence in the Shiite community to attempt to block passage.

The one alternative though that may be gaining traction is the renewal of the current UN Security Council authorization on a temporary basis. However, that alternative is riddled with complications because it brings in the politics of all the nations on the Security Council that have veto power, most importantly, Russia. Especially in the wake of US involvement in the recent Russian-Georgian conflict, will Russia be willing to give the United States the blessing of a continuation of the Iraqi occupation which is a centerpiece of the American empire? Would Russia turn down a chance to humiliate its chief international adversary?

Defense Secretary Robert Gates expressed his concern stating-

“The consequences of not having a SOFA and of not having a renewed UN authorization are pretty dramatic in terms of consequences for our actions.”


While even the worse case scenario for the Administration would not provide a fatal blow to American imperial hegemony, it would be one more nail in the coffin. I do not want America to be dealt such a humiliating political defeat; instead, I wish we would own up to the reality that the empire is not sustainable and thus decide to bring our troops home from around the world with some semblance of honor. Hopefully the next Administration will see the handwriting on the wall and begin to scale back America’s global ambitions.

For further reading on the subject of the Iraq-US Military Security agreement see this Washington Post article.

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