Monday, November 17, 2008

Back to basics: Iraq

McClatchy reports:
Iraq cabinet approves troop agreement with U.S.
Note the wording: "Iraq cabinet."

I call this out only because other news sources reported the same story as:
Iraqi troop accord reached
Iraq's government approves security pact with US
Now, in parliamentary systems, "the government" and "the cabinet" are interchangeable...

... but not so in the U.S.
When U.S. citizens read in their newspapers, "Iraq's government approves security pact with US", they think, "Ah - this is a done deal!"

Not so.
The Iraqi Parliament has yet to approve it, which is now required.
Yes - the cabinet agreed to it (it helped that Sen. Obama is now President-elect Obama), but it is NOT a done deal!

Okay - there are a number of riffs to be played on this theme.
I'll focus on two.

1. The SOFA approved by Iraq's cabinet faces serious opposition from Shi'ites... particularly from our creation, Moqtada al-Sadr: Hardline Iraqi cleric bids to kill US pact in parliament.

2. The wording of the pact approved by the cabinet calls for complete withdrawal of American troops by the end of 2011.
W sees it differently:
Press Briefing by Press Secretary Dana Perino
MS. PERINO: As we've been saying since July, when we said that we would work with the Iraqis to establish a date that we would aspire to...

... One of the points that we conceded was that we would establish these aspirational dates.
The negotiated SOFA sets a date. W views this as only "aspirational".

More to follow.

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