President Bush is trying to wrap up a new status-of-forces agreement with the Iraqi government before the U.N. resolution under which the U.S. operates its occupation runs out. Team Bush has made some concessions to the Maliki government, but there’s one sticking point that threatens an agreement: veto power over military operations.

By the way, the current U.N. resolution expires just before Bush leaves office, which means the deal he’s negotiating — which he doesn’t want to bring before Congress — essentially lays out terms for the next president to inherit.


Guardian:

Iraq is insisting on the right to veto any US military operations throughout its territory under a “status of forces” agreement currently being negotiated between Baghdad and Washington, according to a senior member of the Iraqi government.

The agreement will last for a maximum of two years and can be terminated by either side with six months’ notice, Hussain al-Shahristani, Iraq’s oil minister, told the Guardian yesterday.

His remarks come amid intensive closed-door negotiations between the Iraqi and US governments which have led to complaints in the US Congress as well as Iraq that the Bush administration is tying the next US president’s hands by seeking to maintain long-term bases in Iraq for possible attacks on Iran and other neighbouring states.

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