Jonathan Schwartz comments,
The draft strategic framework agreement between the US and Iraqi governments, dated March 7 and marked "secret" and "sensitive", is intended to replace the existing UN mandate and authorises the US to "conduct military operations in Iraq and to detain individuals when necessary for imperative reasons of security" without time limit.
The authorisation is described as "temporary" and the agreement says the US "does not desire permanent bases or a permanent military presence in Iraq". But the absence of a time limit or restrictions on the US and other coalition forces - including the British - in the country means it is likely to be strongly opposed in Iraq and the US.Iraqi critics point out that the agreement contains no limits on numbers of US forces, the weapons they are able to deploy, their legal status or powers over Iraqi citizens, going far beyond long-term US security agreements with other countries. The agreement is intended to govern the status of the US military and other members of the multinational force.
...despite the fact that the Iraqi constitution gives the parliament authority to approve all treaties (and the US constitution gives the congress authority to approve all treaties) Bush and Maliki are planning to sign an "agreement" approving a permanent US occupation...without the involvement of either country's legislative branch. Moreover, since Maliki is our puppet, this essentially is the administration agreeing with itself....And here,
Both the US constitution and the Iraqi constitution require that treaties be approved by their respective legislative branches. Yet Crocker states that Congress will merely be "fully informed" about the US-Iraq agreement. And he doesn't even mention the Iraqi parliament. (It is highly unlikely that either the US Congress or the Iraqi parliament would approve this, let alone both.)
Crocker and the Bush administration justify this by claiming the agreement will not rise to the level of a treaty—that it will be a mere Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA), which can be concluded just between the respective countries' executive branches. However, all previous SOFAs have merely governed mundane issues, such as "wearing of the uniform, the carrying of arms, tax and customs relief, entry and exit of personnel and property, and resolving damage claims." R. Chuck Mason, the Congressional Research Service's expert on SOFAs, recently stated that a review of over 70 of them found that "none contained the authority to fight." It has always been treaties which do that. The United States does have a SOFA with Germany, but it is the NATO treaty which makes it legal for US troops there to kill people.
Thus the Bush administration position breaks completely with decades of precedent. Moreover, its extremism can be understood by the fact that it logically goes both ways: if Bush and Maliki can together agree without Iraqi parliamentary approval that Americans can be based in Iraq and kill Iraqis, then Maliki and Bush could together agree without US congressional approval that Iraqis can be based in the US and kill Americans.