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Iraq approves US Security Pact

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    Iraq approves US Security Pact

    Iraq's Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki on Thursday finally got the broad consensus he sought on the Status of Forces Agreement with the U.S. - 149 of the 198 lawmakers present in the 275-member National Assembly gave their support to a deal that allows American forces to remain in Iraq until the end of 2011. But Iraq's legislators also put the prime minister on notice: "We want to tell Maliki that we are building a new democracy, and that we're not ready anymore to let the power be in one man's hands, no matter who he is," said Abdel-Bari al-Zebari, a Kurdish lawmaker.

    The wide parliamentary approval for the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) opens the final chapter of U.S military involvement in Iraq, setting a firm deadline for withdrawal. The vote, and the divisive deliberations leading up to it, may also mark the beginning of a new season of political conflict in Baghdad, as politicians seek to redistribute power away from the increasingly autocratic prime minister and towards the president and the parliament.
    There has been growing discontent among Iraqi politicians over Maliki's bold style of leadership, which has upset both friends and foes alike. In recent weeks, he has antagonized his Shi'ite and Kurdish allies in the ruling coalition by setting up tribal councils that are widely viewed as a direct challenge to their power on the ground. Maliki's Sunni allies in the Tawafuk Front, the largest Sunni parliamentary bloc, have branded the Shi'ite prime minister as "another dictator". And Maliki remains at odds with Shi'ite opponents such as Moqtada al-Sadr, whose bloc of 28 lawmakers vociferously rejected the SOFA vote on Thursday, chanting "no, no to the agreement, yes, yes to Iraq."


    [Entire article not posted. Please visit link to read more.]
    Iraq Approves Long-Debated U.S. Security Pact - Yahoo! News

    Consensus after a long wait! I wonder what the role of American forces will now be for the next 3 years.
    Boycott Indian economy. Buy Pakistani!
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