May 19, 2008
On May 19, the state-controlled Al-Watan daily carried the following exclusive report: "Journalistic sources in Baghdad revealed information regarding an agreement between the American and Iraqi governments over the implementation of several long-term strategic agreements before the end of the year without going through the legislative authorities. They pointed out that a number of these agreements were not disclosed before public opinion...
"According to these sources, the Iraqi authorities were going to ratify four pacts with the American occupation far from the eyes of the media, in addition to a military agreement legitimizing the military occupation and another strategic, security and political one to ensure the continuation of the American protection of the Iraqi executive authority from domestic coup attempts. The information added that these four pacts were signed in 2005 and were presented to the Iraqi parliament at the end of 2007.
"The information mentioned there were three agreements and one memorandum of understanding and that they were as follows: A US-Iraq Investment Incentive Agreement, a US-Iraq Trade and Investment Framework Agreement, a US-Iraq Agreement for Economic and Technical Cooperation and a Memorandum of Understanding on Agricultural Cooperation. The sources added: "According to the US Department of State, Robert Zoellick (the US Secretary of State deputy at the time and the current head of the World Bank) signed the four agreements with Ali Abdul Amir Alawi (the Iraqi Finance Minister at the time who is currently residing outside of Iraq) during a meeting in the Jordanian capital Amman in July 2005"â€¦
"The sources continued: "These pacts are closer to commandments imposed on Iraq than agreements between two independent states. They grant the American side immunity, all the traveling prerogatives from and into Iraq and the right to protect the undefined American missions with American military troops that can roam the country without any restraints". The pacts also disregarded international laws and agreements by creating unprecedented bilateral laws granting all the rights to the occupation government and none to Iraq.
"Moreover, the agreements exempted all the American companies and individuals from taxes and customs in what contradicted even the controversial Iraqi investment law... The pacts also proposed a transitory plan through which the remains of the Iraqi public sector are to be privatized and destroyed. The sources added that legally "and according to the stipulations of the law that was governing the management of the Iraqi state throughout the transitory period at the time of the signing of the four pacts, the Cabinet would assign representatives to negotiate the international pacts and agreements with the consent of the presidential council".
"This is why they added "Allawi's candidacy as finance minister was approved by the General Assembly on April 28, 2005 less than ten weeks before the signing of the four pacts"â€¦ The Iraqi sources believed that even if Allawi was assigned as minister or member of the committee for economic affairs during that record period and even if the negotiations and the signing were made legally, the stipulations of the law related to the management of the Iraqi state during the transitory period stated that "the presidential council should issue its recommendations through a law from the National Assembly ratifying these pacts and agreements, since the National Assembly is the sole authority entitled to ratify international pacts and agreements".
"However, the disbandment of the National Assembly on March 16, 2005 allowed the dossier to be transferred to the parliament during the last quarter of 2007. While the first and second reading of the memorandum presented by the foreign affairs and agriculture committee were actually conducted, the sources added: "What is more important is that the Iraqi parliament has not yet issued a law regulating the ratification of international pacts and agreements"â€¦ It is thus feared that this method is a strategy adopted by the executive power in signing long-term military and security agreements with the US - without the need for their immediate ratification - as they enter into force on the day of signing..."
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