Political Costs to Climb as U.S. Digs Heels in Deeper in Iraq
The U.S. government is quietly negotiating with its counterpart in Baghdad to establish a long-term military presence in Iraq after the U.N.-authorized U.S. occupation expires in December.� These closed-door discussions have provoked criticism among Iraq’s Shi’ia leadership—firebrand leader Moktada al-Sadr and moderate cleric Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani are calling, respectively, for protests and a countrywide referendum. Greater civil unrest may ensue, according to Independent Institute Senior Fellow Ivan Eland.
“If the prospect of such an agreement causes al-Sadr to abandon his cease-fire, this development could cause retaliation by now dormant Sunni fighters, as well as his Shi’i opponents in the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council’s Badr Brigades,” writes Eland in a new op-ed.
The Bush administration has told Congress that any agreement will not bind the next American president, but this claim offers little comfort to opponents the plan. Not only do treaties tend to create change-resistant inertia, but the administration has said that it would not submit this U.S.-Iraq treaty to the U.S. Senate for ratification.
“Ominous Opposition to a Long-Term U.S. Military Presence in Iraq,” by Ivan Eland (6/2/08)