>> Thursday, November 27, 2008
It appears that the SOFA so long in the works has passed the Iraqi Parliment. Juan Cole,
Reuters reports that the Iraqi parliament passed the US-Iraqi security agreement, which stipulates that all US troops will be out of Iraq by 2011. of 275 members of parliament, 198 attended and 145 voted in favor. That means it barely passed from the point of view of an absolute majority, though it was a clear simple majority. Apparently the al-Maliki government bowed to Sunni Arab demands that the agreement be submitted to a national referendum, California-style. If that is true, it is possible that it could still be rejected by the Iraqi people. But al-Maliki got it through parliament by painting opponents as implicitly opposing a US withdrawal, and that campaign tactic may work with the general public, too.
The key to whether the populace ends up voting for this will be the spin attached. If al-maliki is able to present this as the best way to get the troops out then there is a decent chance it passes. The Iraqi's want the US out and whichever side is able to make their side the withdrawal side is going to win.
Back home it is not right that there is no official english translation available. It is not right that the congress does not get to revue this. A lame duck president widely despised and who might go down in history as the worst president ever has committed the US to three more years of an unpopular war without allowing for debate or even review of the terms.