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"Iraq" govt asks UN to okay continued US occupation

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  • Fred Feldman
    Posted on Tue, May. 31, 2005 Iraq asks U.N. to renew U.S. troop mandate By Nancy A. Youssef Knight Ridder Newspapers BAGHDAD, Iraq - Iraq s prime minister
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 6, 2005
      Posted on Tue, May. 31, 2005

      Iraq asks U.N. to renew U.S. troop mandate

      By Nancy A. Youssef

      Knight Ridder Newspapers

      BAGHDAD, Iraq - Iraq's prime minister asked the United Nations on
      Tuesday to extend its authorization for U.S. forces to stay in the
      country, underscoring the fragile hold of the newly elected government
      at a time of rising insurgent violence.

      Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari said his government would decide the
      role of American and other foreign troops, a particularly sensitive
      issue as the new government tries to establish its legitimacy among the
      Iraqi people and secure the country against an entrenched insurgency
      while depending heavily on the U.S. military.

      Al-Jaafari said he'd like the U.N. Security Council to extend Resolution
      1546, which authorizes the U.S. presence until June 8. He made his
      comments while addressing the Iraqi National Assembly.

      "It is true that (the multinational forces) are not Iraqi forces but
      their task is to secure the country under the Iraqi will and Iraqi
      timetable," al-Jaafari said after the assembly session. "So if Iraqis
      choose, through their elected government, that they need extension (of
      Resolution 1546) in order to improve the security situation, the
      decision will be Iraqi."

      Lt. Steve Boylan, a U.S. military spokesman, said everyone understood
      that American troops were here at the request of the new government. "We
      are here in partnership to help them win the war against terrorism,"
      Boylan said.

      More than 140,000 American service members are in the country.

      Some members of the National Assembly were still reeling from the
      earlier detention of Mohsen Abdel Hamid, the secretary general for the
      Iraqi Islamic Party, the largest Sunni Muslim political party. After
      ransacking his home and detaining and interrogating him for about 12
      hours Monday, the U.S. military released him and called the detention a

      The Iraqi government denounced Hamid's detention, saying it undermined
      efforts to include Sunnis in the political process.

      During Tuesday's session, some members of the assembly said the
      coalition forces were overzealous and disrespectful of Iraqis, and
      conducted raids without the new government's approval. At times, the
      assembly members were passionate in their frustration with the troops.

      "The involvement of the multinational forces in Iraqis' lives is
      excessive and unacceptable," said Rassim al-Awadi, who represents the
      Iraqi National Accord party. "All Iraqis should be respected by the
      multinational forces in Iraq."

      Said Fraidoon Abdul Kadr, a Kurdish assembly member: "Our friends in the
      multinational forces bear the great responsibility of bringing peace.
      They should be aware of the Iraqis' dignity and what is important and
      holy to us."

      Hamid said Tuesday that when the American forces arrived at his Baghdad
      home, they asked for him by name. During his detention, he said, the
      troops asked him general questions about topics including his party and

      U.S. and Iraqi officials have said the political process must include
      Sunnis, the nation's largest minority sect and a group that's said it
      feels marginalized in the new government.

      The National Assembly and al-Jaafari's government have appealed to the
      Sunnis - including Hamid - to help draft the nation's permanent
      constitution, which must be completed by Aug. 15, according to the
      interim governing document.

      They also believe that including Sunnis will curtail the surge of
      violence that began after the newly elected officials announced the
      government April 28.

      On Tuesday, Laith Kubba, al-Jaafari's spokesman, announced that the
      governor of Anbar - who'd been kidnapped earlier in May - was found dead
      after U.S. forces and insurgents battled in Rawah. He said they found
      the body a few days ago. Gov. Raja Nawaf Farhan al-Mahalawi had been
      snatched during an American offensive in al Qaim, a city that borders
      Syria and that U.S. officials think is an entry point for foreign

      In addition, a truck bomb exploded as an Iraqi army patrol passed in the
      western city of Baqouba, killing two soldiers and wounding eight people,
      police said.

      Youssef reports for the Detroit Free Press. Knight Ridder Newspapers
      special correspondents Mohammed al Awsy, Alaa al Baldawy and Yasser
      Salihee contributed to this report.
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