Monday, November 26, 2007

Declaration of Principles for Long Term Occupation

A setback for both Iraqi nationalists and the anti-US/anti-Zionism parties in the region. How serious a setback depends on the details of the non-binding agreement so far, which are for now secret, and the political situation in Iraq during negotiations.

The Associated Press reported from Baghdad that the proposal would give America preferential treatment for investments in Iraq - a potential bonanza for oil companies - in return for long-term security guarantees, including defence against internal coups.

I have not seen the Iraqi response. Presumably the result of the ultimate negotiations legally would have to pass in Iraq's parliament. That is a legality that the United States will try as hard as possible to ignore.

More information will become available in the coming days, such as the reaction of the Sadrists and the Sunnis which I expect to be angry.


Ziad said...

Thanx for a series of of interesting posts. In light of the media blitz over the past few months presenting the surge as a great success and the sharp decline in U.S. casualties (although we are comparing it to the 100+ monthly KIA during the summer) do you think a long term U.S. military presence, along with control of Iraqi oil reserves is likely?

ziad said...

I would also ask, do you foresee any deterioration in the U.S. economy (real estate crash, mortgage defaults, banking/credit crisis, etc.) that might make an Iraq occupation financially untenable?

Arnold Evans said...

The US can afford a South Korea-style occupation indefinitely.

It can't afford even the current levels of hostility indefinitely, much less 100 dead soldiers a month.

Details are going to come out about any agreement and the reaction to it.

This would be much harder to pass than the oil law that hasn't passed. The US is talking first and to hear the US talk, this is a fait accompli. Tomorrow we'll hear from Sadr the Sunnis in Parliment, SIIC, etc. Most likely the pendulum on this will swing the other way.

The US argument will be that Maliki can do this on his own. Nobody in Iraq will agree with that.

Working with one side of the story and no details, it's hard to figure out what the long term impact will be. My guess is that the consensus will form that this has to pass Parliament and it will not pass Parliament.

Long term it still will be very difficult for the US to remain in Iraq and there may be another spike in US deaths during campaign season to make sure of that.

Arnold Evans said...

The text of the agreement is available. It turns out to be vague. Nothing about any long term presence.

Interestingly, the US is committed, in return for the extension of the UN mandate for one year not to prevent Iraq's return to the legal standing it had before the invasion of Kuwait.

My take as of right now is that just as the Saudis assume the US will take a public position about refugees, the US assumes Iraq will grant a long term presence.

In both cases there is no commitment. In both cases a more capable government would not place any value on the assumption.