Wednesday, June 4, 2008

The Iraq Situation

Far too often I wonder what is happening in Iraq. We've been there for a while so I understand interest wanes, but I believe we must stay on top of what is going on there as well as in Afghanistan. The AP had this article you can check it out in its entirety at this link

Iraqi lawmaker: US-Iraq security talks stall

BAGHDAD (AP) — Lawmakers allied to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said Tuesday that negotiations over a U.S.-Iraqi security pact and the future status of American troops in Iraq were stumbling, with "almost all points under dispute."

Dawa party lawmaker Haidar al-Abadi told reporters in Baghdad's U.S.-guarded Green Zone that "almost all American suggestions were countered by different Iraqi ones."

"The negotiations are at a standstill, and the Iraqi side is studying its options," al-Abadi said, reading a statement from his party.

The agreement, which both sides hope to finalize this summer, would outline the long-term security relationship between Iraq and the United States and provide a legal basis for American troops to stay in Iraq after their U.N. mandate expires at the end of the year.

U.S. Embassy spokeswoman Mirembe Nantongo described talks over the pact as "active" and said Tuesday that "texts are very much in flux."

"One thing I can affirm is that a fundamental principle underlying these negotiations is our recognition of and respect for the fact of Iraqi sovereignty," Nantongo said in response to an e-mailed request for comment. "There is no question of the U.S. forcing anything."

The U.S. State Department's top Iraq adviser, David Satterfield, met Tuesday with Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari, whose office issued a statement afterward saying the two "discussed efforts to ensure Iraq's rights and its full sovereignty."

Both sides also pledged to try to finish the agreement on time, it said.

But al-Abadi, a Shiite legislator close to the prime minister, said talks have hit major stumbling blocks over the future status of U.S. military bases and American use of airspace over Iraq.

"The Americans have some demands that the Iraqi government regards as infringing on its sovereignty," al-Abadi said. "This is the main dispute, and if the dispute is not settled, I frankly tell you there will not be an agreement."