On Thursday, 149 members of the Iraqi Parliament voted for approval of the SOFA, 126 either voted against or simply did not show up. While we wait for the decision of the three members of the Presidential Council – each of whom has a full veto – the reactions inside Iraq are understandably mixed given the uncertainty on what is even in the agreement. (Don’t miss Raed Jarrar’s analysis in the YouTube above)
Grand Ayatollah Sistani has made it clear he is not pleased with the agreement. "He had previously said he would not express an opinion on the pact and would leave it up to parliament to decide, as long as there was broad consensus in the event it was passed."
Today he made it clear that the standard of a “broad consensus” has not been met:
“There was no national consensus over the pact, a matter that disturbs the country,” the source said in a press statement that was made while Aswat al-Iraq was present. “The pact is incomplete and mysterious,” he added. The source questioned “the Iraqi government’s ability to execute the pact,” considering U.S. pressures in this regard. He also referred to preserving “Iraq’s sovereignty and funds.”
And noting the implicit relinquishing of sovereignty by voting for an agreement which legitimizes extending the occupation, even if only to 2011, one of the Sadrist MPs stated that:
all options are open for the Sadirsts in accordance with their constitutional and legal rights, adding “resistance of occupation” is a legitimate right guaranteed by the international law”.
“The Sadrists would not cede their national principles and would continue to seek the independence and full sovereignty of Iraq,” Fawzi Akram Tarzi, a member of parliament from the Sadrist bloc of Shiite leader Muqtada al-Sadr, told Aswat al-Iraq.
“We would contest the voting over the security pact with the United States through the federal court on the grounds that the process was not constitutional,” he said, adding the voting was conducted before reading out the items of the agreement.
Al Sadr’s offices will be closed “for three days of mourning."
"We pay our condolences to the Iraqi people for the vote for the pact of humiliation and disgrace in the catastrophe of black Thursday," said Sheik Muhanad al-Gharawi, a Sadr delegate.
Not quite a victory.