President Bush is very confident he’s going to get the deal to keep our troops in Iraq for a long time. We’ll have 50 bases in Iraq and complete freedom to do what we want. “If I were a betting man, we’ll reach an agreement with the Iraqis,” Mr. Bush said.
But Juan Cole, America’s acknowledged expert on Iraq is not so sure. He quoted Prime Minister Malaki on Friday.
“Iraq has another option that it may use,” Maliki said during a visit to Amman, Jordan. “The Iraqi government, if it wants, has the right to demand that the U.N. terminate the presence of international forces on Iraqi sovereign soil.”
Cole concludes that either Malaki is bluffing, to get better terms or he’s truly worried about the Saddarist political movement that is planning to challenge him in fall elections.
Sadr said that he would fight the Occupation until it ended or the struggle lead to his own martyrdom.He added that ‘The fight against US troops will now be waged only by the new group, while other members will “take on a social and religious role,” Sadr said in a statement which was read out at mosques in the holy Shi’ite town of Kufa. ‘
American observers constantly underestimate the Sadr Movement, which is millions strong and has gotten stronger in the south as discontent with lack of services has risen.
Malaki is between a rock and a hard place. If he gives in to Bush the nationalist Sadr might end up controlling the Parliament and send Malaki and his crony’s off to Switzerland with their millions in looted American aid. If he stands up to Bush, January 1, 2009 would mark a day when there is no longer any legal justification for American presence in Iraq. That might be perfect timing for a new Administration in Washington.