Wednesday, June 16, 2004

I smell a rat

These two paragraphs appear at the end of an article in Middle East Online.

"Amid the unrest US Deputy Defence Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, one of the key architects of the US-led invasion, and Kevin Tebbit, the permanent secretary at Britain's ministry of defence met Iraq's new prime minister and others in Baghdad to discuss their countries' future ties.

"The visits come as both the United States and Britain work to negotiate a status of forces agreement with the government, which is due to take limited power once the coalition hands back sovereignty at the end of the month."

A "Status of Forces Agreement" is the formal name for the contract with various nations under which the US operates it bases worldwide, including Japan, Germany, Kuwait and so forth. They are binding documents that by their terms last for decades and survive changes in government.

So--Wolfie and Rummie and Bush are trying to bamboozle Iraq (and the US and the world) into signing off on such a significant, long-term agreement as negotiated with the interim government (the one that's "completely sovereign," according to them, but not sovereign enough to take custody of Saddam, for example) before an elected government takes over, knowing that the interim government is a US stooge.

I'll check around to see if anybody else has noted this development and report back.

Update: This WaPo article says that because the interim government has agreed not to subject US troops to its local laws, a status of forces agreement isn't needed. So what's Wolfie doing in Baghdad?

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