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Iraqi Parliament's Push for Sovereignty Part 2

Defending Iraqi Unity

Congress brought Al-Jaberi and Al-Ulayyan to speak before the Foreign Affairs Committee so they could express their dissatisfaction with the proposed US-Iraq security agreement, corroborating Congress's own fears of an exclusive, bilateral agreement between their two executive branches that would commit US troops to a long-term occupation.

The visit evoked some striking parallels between the executive-legislative relationships in the US and Iraq. Although the MPs' parties control the majority of the Parliament, they're not represented in the executive branch. While Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and his Cabinet aim to cooperate with President Bush, prolonging the occupation, Parliament overwhelmingly opposes the presence of US troops in Iraq.

Despite their shared sympathies with many in Congress, the MPs did not accept all of their hosts' ideas on Iraq. They emphasized that, when it comes to Iraq's future, Iraqis know best how to plan for it, and said that, for the majority of Parliament, that plan would include a strong centralized government. Al-Jaberi and Al-Ulayyan advocate a structure similar to that of the United States, with both a central administration and smaller provinces, divided by geography, not demography.

However, some prominent US Congress members hold a different view: Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Joe Biden has been pushing for a loose, "federalist" coalition of regional governments in Iraq, divided along religious sectarian lines and headed by a less powerful national administration. He led the drive to pass an amendment for the establishment of such a government last year.

Al-Ulayyan testified that overcoming - not reinforcing - sectarian tensions would be vital to ensuring peace in the country. Prior to their testimony, Al-Jaberi and Al-Ulayyan had scheduled a meeting with Senator Biden's office. After the MPs spoke against the idea of a sect-based partition, Biden's staff canceled their meeting, according to Raed Jarrar, the American Friends Service Committee's Iraq consultant, who helped coordinate the MPs' visit.

Yet, the MPs are holding their ground. Al-Ulayyan told Truthout that the call for unification is echoed by most Iraqis, whose national pride is often overlooked by US politicians' theories.

"All Iraqis - Sunnis and Shiites, Arabs and Kurds, Muslims and Christians, and others - want to live together in one united country," Al-Ulayyan said. "Partitioning Iraq will lead to indefinite violence and destruction."

The MPs' adamancy harkens back to a Lincoln-like cry for unity; a reminder that the Iraqi nationality need not be usurped by disparate religious identities. Al-Jaberi calls the idea of partitioning Iraq a "disaster."

"The vast majority of Iraqis will fight to maintain their country's territorial integrity," he told Truthout.

The MPs' overarching message: They're eager for a partnership with US Congress members that will help them work toward shared goals, but they're not interested in conforming to the demands of any American bosses, be they Republican or Democrat. The key to achieving Iraqi sovereignty, they say, will be allowing Iraq to determine what that sovereignty looks like.

"We think that the American people and Congress are misinformed about what the Iraqis want," Al-Ulayyan said, adding, "We hope we will have more chances to bring the voices of the majority of Iraqis to America."

Re: Iraqi Parliament's Push for Sovereignty Part 2

sems like the Iraqi peopple want their own country with democracy and not being an occupied country I can agree with that. If this is the way the Iraqi people want it, then it is time for the US To come home.

Re: Iraqi Parliament's Push for Sovereignty Part 2

Duane no comment I see, probably to intelligent for you to read, make that too long since this is 2 parts

Re: Iraqi Parliament's Push for Sovereignty Part 2

Draino. Vote for OUR Friend, Yours and mine. Barak Hussien Obama and he will have us safely out with dignity in a few beats of your heart.