Monday, November 17, 2008

Obama might cancel the US-Iraq troops agreement?

Obama might cancel the US-Iraq troops agreement.

By : Ali Alarabi

Now that the Iraqi and the US governments have signed the Security agreement yesterday, pending the Iraqi parliament ratification, which will regulate the presence of US troops in Iraq until 2011 and beyond, the real work, however, has not even begun yet.

For the current US administration, it is important to sign this agreement, amended to satisfy domestic Iraqi demands, such as changing the name into the “ The US withdrawal agreement” so as to not leave the US troops in Iraq, come December 31, without a legal cover that protects their presence in the country.

More importantly however, for the out going George Bush’s administration is to legally bind the incoming administration of President Barack Obama with an agreement that represent its own thinking on troops presence and US basis in Iraq and in the Middle East.

The current administration thinking on US troops and its role around the world, however, predates George Bus’s administration, and it started with the Project of the New American Century, an organization formed by neocons such as William Kristol, John Bolton, and Donald Kagan, which at its core want to exercise a muscular US foreign policy that will exercise the US military power, if necessary, around the globe particularly the Middle East and South East Asia.

This Militarist approach to US policy, at its heart, wants to ensure US dominance over much of the global affairs particularly when it comes to strategic issues such as global security, i.e terrorism, nuclear proliferation, and Oil.

Iraq, after its occupation, lies as central to the current administration, the neocons thinking, in continuing with this policy to project the US power, through permanent basis in Iraq and the Arab Gulf countries.

As for the Iraqi government, it really has very little room to decide .The presence of 146 000 US Soldiers in Iraq today, represent the only guarantee that Iraq does not slip in a savage civil war that will leave the country in total ruins. And to keep the current political order in the country alive.

The government of Nouri Al Malki after consulting with Ayatollah Ali Sistani , went ahead and approved the Pact, to the delight of the Kurds who have vested interests in keeping the US troops in Iraq, while Muqtada Al Sadar and the Islamic Scholars Association, opposed the Pact calling it “ a surrender” and” a continuation of American occupation of Iraq”.

As for the incoming US president Barack Obama: he did not issue a statement on this particular issue; he nonetheless was very clear since 2002 in opposing the war in Iraq and voted against a war resolution in Congress.

Will an Obama administration honor this agreement between the current US government and the Iraqi government? I must say that Its doubtful that an Obama administration will stick with an agreement to station US troops not only in Iraq but also in the Gulf region on a philosophical grounds that runs contrary to his own thinking, as well as the thinking of the centrist wing of the democratic party that he represents, on how to run the US foreign policy.

The Democrats have no institutions comparable to the neocon Republicans, like the American Enterprise institute, AEI, who when not in power lay dormant planning their vision of US policy until they assume power in Washington.

Therefore Obama and his democratic controlled congress would not feel obligated to honor this agreement that was founded on a political philosophy they deem very dangerous to American interests around the world and that it has undermined US interests and brought an unnecessary war in Iraq.

Consequently, it is likely that the new US administration will start withdrawing the US troops much earlier what this agreement stipulates with emphasis on withdrawing combat units first, as Obama the candidate has said in several of his speeches that outlined his policy on the war in Iraq.

Obama, however, would not commit a major policy blunder if he withdraws the US from this agreement and cancel all together, certainly, it is not without precedent.

George Bush decided that the Anti-Ballistic Missile ABM treaty signed with the Soviet Union, in 1972, is no longer fit the new US policy in accordance with his ideological line and he therefore on June 13TH 2002 withdrew the US from this treaty. George Busch also decided to withdraw the US from the Kyoto treaty that limits greenhouse emissions upon assuming power in Washington from his predecessor Bill Clinton who signed the treaty.

As for the US changing its position on a treaty after change of power in Washington certainly is not restricted to Republicans. President Jimmy Carter for example decided to withdraw the SALT II from the Congress after it was put there for ratification in response to the Soviet invasion Afghanistan in 1979. Congress, however, was not in hurry to sign the treaty anyway for it was facing several objections and was stuck in Congress without ratification.

President Obama does not have to go along with a US foreign policy that projects the US military force around the globe and ensure US dominance through an interventionist military policy and preemptive wars.

Obama had voiced his objections loud and clear starting with his vote in the senate against the war resolution and his senate bill to withdraw the US from20Iraq to his latest statement on his website that as soon as his assumes power Washington he will direct his secretary of defense to end the war in Iraq and remove the US troops from that country.

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