Monday, November 26, 2007

Nice Country You Got Here. Be A Shame If Something Happened To It

Well, well well, it looks like even if the Iraqis did stand up, we'd push them back into their chair and say "Whoa mister. Just where do you think you're a going without old Uncle Sam a telling ya it's OK. "

Or something folksy like that. Sort of takes the sting out of the M-16 we have pointed at their heads.

Iraq's government, seeking protection against foreign threats and internal coups, will offer the U.S. a long-term troop presence in Iraq in return for U.S. security guarantees as part of a strategic partnership, two Iraqi officials said, as Bush's advisor on the Iraq war adviser on the Iraqi war, Lt. Gen. Douglas Lute pretended to drink a glass of water next to them.

This is "a set of principles from which to begin formal negotiations," Lute said. "And by negotiations I mean we'll tell the Iraqis where we want to build our bases and what parts of theri country they can't come into anymore."

As part of the package, the Iraqis want an end to all U.N.-ordered restrictions on Iraq's sovereignty. "We might as well have unrestricted sovereignty," said one Iraqi official. "We won't be using it until the Americans take all our oil anyway."

The two senior Iraqi officials said Iraqi authorities had discussed the broad outlines of the proposal with U.S. military and diplomatic representatives. "And by 'discussed' we mean the Americans showed us the contract. We discussed whether to sign it in blue or black ink, and that was that. We went with the black. More professional looking."

Members of parliament were briefed on the plan during a three-hour closed-door meeting during which lawmakers loyal to radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr objected to the formula. "Hey, we turn over our country to a foreign power, set up a puppet government and proceed to bleed our country for the American economy. What's not to like?" said one Sunni official.

Preferential treatment for U.S. investors could provide a huge windfall if Iraq can achieve enough stability to exploit its vast oil resources. "You say that like it's a bad thing," said one pentagon official close to the negotiations.

At the White House, Lute said the new agreement was not binding. "Irrevocable, unalterable, inescapable, unbreakable, compulsory, obligatory, mandatory sure, but binding? Nah."

"We believe, and Iraqis' national leaders were told to believe, that a long-term relationship with the United States is in our mutual interest," Lute said.

Lute said, having the U.S. as a "reliable, enduring partner with Iraq will cause different sects inside the Iraqi political structure to bet on the reliable partnership with the United States. And if history teaches us anything, it's that the U.S. is reliable. Just ask the Kurds after the first Gulf War. Or the Vietnamese, or Native Americans. We stand by our word."

When asked about the plan, U.S. Embassy spokeswoman Mirembe Nantongo noted that Iraqi officials had expressed a desire for a strategic partnership with the U.S. in a political declaration in August. "Which was actually a little late," she added. "We sent them the memo telling them they were interested in a strategic partnership back in March."

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