Iraqi government spokesman Ali Dabbagh reacted sharply on Wednesday to comments of US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen last Tuesday that Iraqis did not have much time to pass the agreement and might not understand the full consequences of failure to do so. Dabbagh said, “It is not correct to force Iraqis into making a choice and it is not appropriate to talk with the Iraqis in this way.”
Spence Ackerman points out that McCain is attempting to spin the draft security agreement as “conditions based,” but that it is not in fact. Rather the agreement stipulates US troops out by 2011 barring major unforeseen factors. I would add that not only is the agreement not very conditions based, but precisely because it does have some of that language it is not viable in Iraq, where most parliamentarians want to tinker with it to make sure the withdrawal deadline is absolute rather than conditioned on the security situation.
One way or another, As of Jan. 1, US troops will not be able to act at will in Iraq but rather will have to get assent from Iraqi authorities for campaigns.
Grand Ayatollah Kadhim al-Haeri issued a formal religious ruling or fatwa denouncing the proposed security pact between the Iraqi government and the US as humiliating and infringing Iraqi national sovereignty. (The tradition of Muslim clerical thinking is hostile to the political subordination of Muslims to non-Muslims.)
Al-Haeri tends to be followed by members of the Sadr Movement, the leader of which is Sayyid Muqtada al-Sadr, who is too junior to issue fatwas. Al-Haeri is sometimes called Iraq’s “fifth Grand Ayatollah,” and is a rival to Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani of Najaf. Al-Haeri declines to live in Iraq under US occupation, and
“We have learned of the pressures exerted by the Occupation forces on the Iraqi government for the purpose of obtaining its assent to a humiliating agreement termed “a long term security agreement,” which leads to Iraq’s loss of its national sovereignty, and its acceptance of humiliation and abasement.”
He added, “Whoso aids the Occupiers in achieving what they desire, God shall not forgive his sins, nor will the oppressed Iraqi nation go easy on him, norwill the blessed centers of Islamic learning nor any Muslim with a conscience who believes in the Judgment Day.”
As for the pro-al-Qaeda internet bulletin board that urged support for McCain because he is hotheaded and would keep large US troop contingents in Iraq and Afghanistan, I would not pay much attention to it. It was a posting from one guy, so we don’t know if the leadership feels this way. But even if he were not obscure, we should not let al-Qaeda play mind games with American voters. Al-Qaeda hates and wants to kill both Democrats and Republicans; it hates America in general. We don’t even know why this posting to the internet supports McCain; for all we know they are trying to help him, expecting blow back from the public. The important thing is what McCain’s practical plans are, not some ‘gotcha’ post from some scruffy fundamentalist vigilante on the internet.
McClatchy reports political violence in Iraq on Wednesday:
– An adhesive bomb detonated under a civilian car in Mansour neighborhood (west Baghdad). Two people were killed.
– An adhesive bomb detonated under the head of the Diwaniyah Facility Protection Service’s car, Colonel Mohammed Abu Atra, in Nidhal Street in downtown Baghdad. The colonel was injured with two of his guards.
– An adhesive bomb detonated under an ambulance car in Andalus intersection in central Baghdad. One person was killed and three others were wounded.
– An adhesive bomb detonated under a civilian car in Zafaraniyah neighborhood (east Baghdad). One person was injured.
– Police found one dead body in Saidiyah neighborhood (southwest Baghdad).
– A car bomb detonated in Thawra neighborhood in Mosul city. Four people were killed and four others injured.
– A roadside bomb targeted a police patrol in Balad Ruz (east of Baquba). One policeman was killed.
– People found a head cut off its body in the Imam Hussein neighborhood in Tuz Khurmatu (south of Kirkuk), police said. The dead man was identified by police as a Turkman person who was kidnapped about a month ago from Inkija village of Tuz Khurmatu.
– A mass grave of 34 dead bodies was found in Al-Qa’im town (about 250 miles west of Baghdad) near the Syrian border. A resident from the town while digging found four dead bodies and then he told police and the local council. They dug and found the mass grave of 34 bodies of civilians who were killed by the Al-Qaida organization.’