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Inside Story - Iraq security pact - Nov 17 - Part 2

6 years ago6 views

The security pact proposal put forward by the United States is being debated in the Iraqi parliament. The 'status of forces' agreement has been signed by the US ambassador to Iraq and the Iraqi foreign minister to express their support, and that of the Iraqi cabinet.

The agreement proposes that 150,000 US troops should remain in Iraq for the next three years, setting a timetable for withdrawal of 2011, although they could stay longer if both sides agree, but some Iraqis fear this could be the first step towards a permanent occupation.

Not all parties are happy with the terms and the Iraqi population remains divided, not least because the agreement provides for legal immunity for US forces in Iraq. If crimes including rape and murder are committed within US camps or within a mission they cannot be prosecuted under Iraqi law. The US says it has to protect its citizens, but critics say American soldiers can act with impunity.

Has the status of forces met Iraqi concerns and how will it work in practice?

Presenter Sohail Rahman is joined by Ali Al-Dabbagh, an Iraqi government spokesman, Sami Ramadani, a columnist and senior lecturer in sociology at London Metropolitan University, and Phyllis Bennis, a fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies and author of Ending the Iraq War.