Proposal to extend America's military role years into the future meets lawmaker resistance, from Washington to Baghdad.
Jose Luis Magana/AP
At the same time, an accord that would permit the US to keep soldiers on Iraqi soil for years to come – the same kind of agreement that governs the US military presence in South Korea, Japan, and Germany – faces criticism from some of Iraq's neighbors, especially Iran.
Some Iraqi parliamentarians fear the proposed agreement would keep Iraq an occupied country and a venue for the US to fight its battles with Al Qaeda and Iran. Some in the US Congress worry a deal could tie the hands of the next president on Iraq policy. Both groups say the executive branches of the two countries are too tight-lipped about a negotiating process that was supposed to be transparent.
"Any [details] we have about this agreement have come through the media, but what we have learned tells us this agreement is totally unfair to the Iraqi people," says Khalaf al-Alayyan, a Sunni sheikh and parliamentarian leader of the Iraqi National Dialogue Council, a party favoring a US withdrawal. "Whoever has a chance to look at it would realize Iraq [under the proposed agreement] would not just be an occupied country, but as if it were part of the United States."
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