Closer to Withdrawal of One Type or Other
A few weeks ago, the Iraqi Parliament passed a non-binding resolution that would take away the power of the Prime Minister to unilaterally approve the continued occupation of the U.S. under U.N. mandate.
Today the resolution became binding (via Alternet).
The Iraqi Parliament has been having the same problems with their Prime Minister that our own Congress has been having with our President. The Iraqi Parliament and the current U.S. Congress reflect more the sentiments of the general populations of their respective countries. But the Executive branches, for purposes of power consolidation and personal enrichment, ignore the governmental checks when popular sentiment gets in their way.
Iraqi lawmaker Jabir Habib (a Shia closely aligned with the al-Sadrist Movement) said in an interview last fall that the Iraqi Assembly had been poised to vote on the issue [of conditions on the U.S. occupation] . "We spent the last months discussing the conditions we wanted to add to the mandate," he said, "and the majority of the parliament decided on three major conditions. These conditions included pulling the coalition forces out of the cities and transferring responsibility for security to the Iraqi government, giving Iraqis the right to recruit, train, equip and command the Iraqi security forces, and requiring that the U.N. mandate expire and be reviewed every six months instead of every 12 months."
Lawmakers said that while they likely had enough support to require a timetable for withdrawal as a condition of the mandate's renewal last year, they were sidelined by al-Maliki when the prime minister sent a letter to the U.N. Security Council requesting an extension without consulting members of parliament. The move outraged lawmakers.
It is possible, even probable, that the Maliki regime will veto the resolution passed today. The White House's separatist allies in Baghdad have consistently found ways to bypass the assembly. [Secular Sunni lawmaker] Al Mutlaq said today that the nationalist bloc probably doesn't have the the two-thirds majority required to override a veto.
Sounds very familiar. And so do the warnings about too much consolidation of power into a unitary Executive that ignores the will of the people:
He warned, however, that the more the al-Maliki regime does to sideline the Iraqi parliament, the more Iraqis will be compelled to turn to violent resistance to the occupation. He said: "It will lead to many groups withdrawing from the political process and could only make things even worse."
Just as it was not unforeseeable that an invasion of Iraq would probably lead to civil war and a destabilization of the Middle East (Turkey invaded Kurdistan -- what a surprise), it's not unforeseeable that, the more the Bush regime does to sideline the U.S. Congress, the more Americans will be compelled to withdraw from the political process and turn to violent resistance.
Iraq's government faces a crisis of legitimacy, in large part due to its refusal to demand the withdrawal of U.S. forces long favored by as many as four out of five Iraqis. According to a poll last year by the Project on International Policy Attitudes, 80 percent of Iraqis believe the U.S. plans to maintain permanent military bases in the country and three out of four believe that if their government were to demand a timetable for withdrawal, Washington would ignore it (according to the poll's authors, that finding was a major driver of the significant support among all groups of Iraqis for attacking coalition troops).
Randi Rhodes says it's not surprising that the Iraqi people aren't taking over their own security. Would you fight for what you considered an illegitimate government? Or would you do exactly what many Iraqis are doing, fighting the soldiers who are protecting the illegitimate government which is sucking your economy dry?
There will either be a timetable for the withdrawal of American troops from Iraq, or there will be a withdrawal of the populace of Iraq from the political process. We in America have a timetable for the withdrawal of the Worst. Presidency. Ever. If that gets sidelined, then we may have our own withdrawal from peaceful democratic processes right here in America.