BAGHDAD / Aswat al-Iraq: The visit of the new U.S.
Defense Secretary, Leon Panetta, for Iraq aims at pressing on the Iraqi government to extend the presence of the American troops in the country after 2011, Member of the Iraqi Parliament’s Security & Defense Committee, Qassim al-Aaraji said on Monday.
“The new American Defense Secretary, Leon Panetta, has come to Iraq on a surprise visit that was not officially announced before, because the United States is dealing with Iraq as an occupied country, or as if it was one of its states, as we don’t know about visits of its officials unless after they land at the airport,” Aaraji told Aswat al-Iraq news agency.
Aaraji said that “things (between U.S. and Iraq) are heading towards the signing of a Memo of Understanding (MoU) and not an agreement that necessitates voting by the Iraqi Parliament.”
“Panetta’s visit is not welcome, because it is part of the series of pressure against the (Iraqi) government and the political parties to keep the American troops in Iraq after 2011, under justifications of training or MoUs,” Aaraji stressed.
He said that the “preparation of the Iraqi forces includes two points, the first ‘vocational’ and the second ‘political’, as the first is related to the government and its security experts, who ought to present a report, explaining Iraq’s need or its non-need for American troops; and if there is a need, it should be presented to the Parliament to get a political decision to pass it as an agreement and the opposite is correct.”
The new U.S.
Defense Secretary, Leon Panetta, had arrived in Baghdad on Sunday, on a surprise official visit, that was not announced before, to discuss the issue of his troops withdrawal from Iraq.