'Ayatollah will not allow US-Iraq deal'
|News - Politics & Society|
Sat, 24 May 2008 21:07:14
The Grand Ayatollah has reiterated that he would not allow Iraq to sign such a deal with 'the US occupiers' as long as he was alive, a source close to Ayatollah Sistani said.
The source added the Grand Ayatollah had voiced his strong objection to the deal during a meeting with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki in the holy city of Najaf on Thursday.
The remarks were made amid reports that the Iraqi government might sign a long-term framework agreement with the United States, under which Washington would be allowed to set up permanent military bases in the country and US citizens would be granted immunity from legal prosecution in the country.
While the mainstream media keep mum about the accord, critics say the agreement would virtually put Iraq under the US tutelage and violate the country's sovereignty.
The source added Ayatollah Sistani, however, backed PM al-Maliki's government and its efforts and that of the nation to establish security in the country.
The mandate of US troops in Iraq will expire in December 2008 and al-Maliki's government is under US pressure to sign 'a mutual security agreement' which would allow the long-term presence of US troops in Iraq.
Washington's plan has so far faced fierce protests by religious figures including Ayatollah Seyyed Kazem Haeri, another senior Shia cleric, and it is expected that other religious figures join the efforts to prevent the deal.
The US has signed similar agreements with countries like Japan and South Korea and thousands of US troops are now stationed in the countries.
The first article of the treaty allows the US Army to carry out military operations in Iraq at any time and any place.
Under Article 2, American and British troops can arrest suspects at any time without the consent of the Iraqi government.
Article 3 reinforces Article 10 by asserting that there are no time limits for the presence of American forces, thus annulling the 1790 UN Security Council anti-occupation Resolution.
The contents of the treaty will dissipate all hopes of a sovereign Iraq, turning the country into a US colony.
According to Article 4, American servicemen and non-servicemen are not obliged to attend any court hearings in Iraq, literally granting them capitulation privileges.
Article 6 allows the US to set up 14 military bases in Iraq;
Article 7 puts the Iraqi ministries of defense, interior and intelligence under the direct supervision of US officials, ensuring Iraq will be officially governed by the United States.
Article 8 provides American forces with the authority to supervise arms sales as well as train Iraqi military and law enforcement personnel.
Article 9 argues that as a member of the international community Iraq must recognize Israel and unconditionally support Washington's Middle East policies.