Iraq rejects permanent U.S. bases-adviser

Iraq will never allow the United States to have permanent military bases on its soil, the government’s national security adviser said. “We need the United States in our war against terrorism, we need them to guard our border sometimes, we need them for economic support and we need them for diplomatic and political support,” Mowaffaq al-Rubaie said. “But I say one thing, permanent forces or bases in Iraq for any foreign forces is a red line that cannot be accepted by any nationalist Iraqi,” he told Dubai-based al Arabiya television in an interview broadcast late on Monday. His comments were the clearest sign yet that Iraq’s leaders are looking ahead to the days when they have full responsibility for its defence. The United States has around 160,000 troops in Iraq, officially under a United Nations mandate enacted after the U.S.-led invasion in 2003. Iraq formally asked the United Nations on Monday to renew that mandate for a year until the end of 2008. It made clear it would not extend the mandate beyond next year and the mandate could be revoked sooner at Iraq’s request. Full Story

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