Iraqi parliament extends foreign troop mandateOn 08/30/2019 by admin
Iraq\’s parliament has finally given authorisation to Australian and other non-US foreign troops to remain in the country for the first half of 2009 after the parliamentary speaker\’s resignation ended a deadlock that had postponed a decision.
Immediately following a resignation speech by the fiery politician, parliament voted by an overwhelming majority to allow the presence of non-US foreign troops after December 31, when a UN mandate expires.
“I announce that I\’m resigning from my position as parliament speaker in the interests of the people,” Mahmud Mashhadani said in his speech to MPs on Tuesday, triggering applause.
His announcement came after a vote last week that was to provide British, Australian and other non-US foreign forces with a legal basis to remain in Iraq into 2009 was suddenly shelved in a row between him and some MPs.
“The parliament authorised the Iraqi government to take all measures in order to realise the complete withdrawal of Britons, Australians, Romanians, Salvadorians, Estonians and those from NATO no later than July 31, 2009,” said Jamal al-Butikh, chief of the secular National List party.
The United States, which supplies 95 per cent of foreign troops in Iraq, has already signed a Status of Forces Agreement with Baghdad, under which its combat forces can remain in the country until the end of 2011.
During a surprise visit to Iraq last week, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced that his country\’s troops would wrap up their mission by the end of May and later said that all but
400 would be out by the end of July.
There are currently 4,100 British troops in Iraq concentrated around Basra airport in the south, and in total less than 6,000 non-US troops stationed in Iraq. The United States currently has 146,000 soldiers in Iraq.
A vast majority of the 223 MPs present in the 275-member parliament voted to approve the resolution that will see the pullout of non-US forces from Iraq in about six months, but the exact breakdown was not immediately available.
“Based on the request put forward by 50 deputies on the withdrawal of foreign troops in Iraq, (a vote was taken) and it was accepted by a vast majority,” said Shi\’ite deputy speaker Khallid al-Attiya.
Parliamentarians burst into loud applause at the end of Mashhadani\’s apologetic but passionate speech.
“What happened in the last session was a slip of the tongue, and what I wanted to say was in the interests of the people.
“But the anger I felt, God did not give me the power to control myself,” he added.
“My excuse to you is I spent 35 hard years of my life moving from one prison to another. If I have hurt you please excuse me. I apologise for my shortcomings,” he said.
The political crisis was sparked when a group of 54 Kurdish and Shi\’ite MPs called for Mashhadani to be fired after he described some politicians as “sons of dogs” during a heated session last week over the Iraqi journalist who threw his shoes at US President
George W Bush.
The first reading of a bill on the non-US forces last Wednesday took place amid uproar in parliament in the aftermath of the journalist\’s protest.
Mashhadani lost his temper in the fiery discussion, branding some MPs as “sons of dogs”. He then announced his resignation, but later retracted it.