Archive for the 'Qatar' Category



Maliki Seeks Iranian Approval of SOFA

BY Herschel Smith
7 years, 9 months ago

In Iran and the Iraq Status of Forces Agreement we outlined our position that the best way to ensure the appearances of Iraqi sovereignty was to actually effect it. But Maliki seems to be doing just the opposite. He is seeking Iranian approval of the draft Status of Forces Agreement.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said on Friday he will submit the text of the controversial security pact with the United States to all of his country’s neighbours.

He would do so after Baghdad receives a US reply to five proposed amendments made by Iraq, a statement from his office said.

Maliki “will dispatch delegations to Iraq’s neighbours, including Turkey, to show them the security agreement after receiving the American replies to the proposed modifications,” he was quoted as telling Turkish President Abdullah Gul in a telephone conversation …

Iraq’s neighbours include Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Jordan.

Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Jordan are pro forma reviews. These countries are on the list for show. The real approval Maliki seeks is from Iran, since Syria is merely an apparatchik of Iran. Before the objection is lodged that Maliki is merely being a good neighbor by his regional kowtowing, we should recall the example of Qatar, a regional base of CENTCOM. It’s important to rehearse just how Qatar came to be this strong ally of the U.S.

In recent years, the ruler of Qatar, Shaikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, has embarked upon a limited course of political liberalization and aligned Qatar firmly with the United States. In 1992, Qatar and the United States concluded a Defense Cooperation Agreement that has been progressively expanded. In April 2003, the Bush Administration announced that the U.S. Combat Air Operations Center for the Middle East will be moved from Prince Sultan Airbase in Saudi Arabia to Qatar’s Al-Udeid airbase, which served as a logistics hub for U.S. operations in Afghanistan under Operation Enduring Freedom, as well as a key center for Operation Iraqi Freedom. Camp As-Sayliyah, the largest pre-positioning facility of U.S. equipment in the world, served as the forward command center for CENTCOM personnel during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Qatar also has assisted the United States in the war on terrorism by stepping up its efforts to prevent Al Qaeda from engaging in money laundering. With the third largest proven gas reserves in the world, U.S. companies, such as ExxonMobil, have worked to increase trade and economic ties with Qatar. Qatar has the highest per capita income of any country in the Middle East.

Shaikh Al-Thani didn’t lick any regional boots to secure the agreement with CENTCOM. Maliki also wants details of the recent U.S. attack at the Syrian border, and since this operation was conducted by Special Operations Forces, its details will be OPSEC. It would be interesting to see if the U.S. divulges these details to Maliki (and if in turn he divulges them to any of his neighbors). Unfortunately we will never know this information, but what we do know is that it is immoral in the superlative to give an enemy of the U.S. the honor of weighing in on the Status of Forces Agreement. But such is the disposition of our “ally,” Prime Minister Maliki.


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