October 21st, 2008
06:46 PM ET

Iraqis want their country back

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/10/21/art.iraq.dog.jpg caption="A U.S. soldier of 101st Airborne Division carries a dog before putting it in an army vehicle leaving Inshon patrol base in Youssifiyah, Iraq, as U.S troops handed over the camp to the Iraqi army Monday"]
Phil Black
CNN Baghdad Correspondent

The Iraqi people want their country back. Not part of it. Not most of it. All of it. And Iraq's politicians know this. The feeling is summed up in one word they've been using an awful lot lately: Sovereignty.

And it's why Iraq's Cabinet has now unanimously rejected what was supposed to be the final draft of a new security deal with the United States. It's called a Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA).

Iraqi ministers say they have a list of changes that need to be made so the agreement can be "acceptable on a national level". In other words, so it can pass the Iraqi Parliament.

Before the draft was revealed, lawmakers here were already telling me it would never get Iraqi Parliament approval without some pretty strong commitments to Iraqi sovereignty. Two things were considered crucial: the right to prosecute U.S. troops for crimes allegedly committed on and off duty, and an unchangeable timetable for withdrawal. This SOFA draft contains neither.

The deal on the table represents a big step away from being an occupied country. But it's not enough for the Iraqi people or their political leaders. As one Member of Parliament told me, Iraqis now consider sovereignty to be as important as basic services like water and electricity.

Tens of thousands of angry Iraqis rallying against the deal in Baghdad on the weekend may also have helped persuade cabinet to take a tough stance. The next parliamentary election is likely early next year.

Filed under: 360° Radar • Iraq
soundoff (23 Responses)
  1. Kay

    Of course, Iraq wants their country back. It never should have been taken from them in the first place. This Iraqi war was unjustified. I grant you Sadam Hussein was a vicious man but there were NO wmd's and from all reports Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11.
    The present administration's IQ was in the gutter on this one.

    October 21, 2008 at 10:38 pm |
  2. Lucy

    We never should have been there. I hope that we can pull out safely and gracefully. I am not sure about the right to prosecute U. S. troops for crimes. There is a brutality we have seen with this war with the bombings, beheadings, and treatment of woman that seem very primative. I feel that the American is responsible to take steps to equally divide the power between the religious factions and provide a police force of Iraqis that can maintain a balance of power between all groups. I think the job of referee belongs to the United Nations. I think our presence is not wanted, but we should help with providing a foundation so that Iraq can survive with out a civil war and have a chance to form a United Iraq Nation.

    October 21, 2008 at 9:42 pm |
  3. Jay-NY

    I hope Bush and Chaney would come clean as they leave office and admit to the people of the US about the real reason for the war in Iraq.

    It is very difficult to accept that it was because of the weapons of mass destruction or the uprooting of the taliban. Iraq has a its own government in place, Iraqi people hate us even more, Middle East recent us, our troops are getting slaughtered left and right.....and we are doing this to instill democracy in Iraq?

    If we went there to secure the oil for the next 30 yrs, this is coming at the ultimate price of our troops and their families – lets bring them home already!!!!!

    October 21, 2008 at 9:40 pm |
  4. Jashon

    What? They don't want armed men running around their country kicking in doors and tying people up? Men who are led by a by a lying and hypocritical commander in chief. They want these armed men to be subject to the laws of their land?

    Jesus, these really are backward people.

    October 21, 2008 at 9:34 pm |
  5. Mary, Pennsylvania

    Perhaps they could help us get out by offering to pay the US travel expense with the surplus in their treasury?

    October 21, 2008 at 9:25 pm |
  6. Brandon

    I continually here rhetoric from the republican party that we must fight this war in Iraq, and if not, the terrorist will follow us back. But if we are fighting this war around innocent people and in a soverign country. I say bring the fight here.

    October 21, 2008 at 9:13 pm |
  7. Taylor

    I hope we've learned from history, and aren't doomed to repeat Vietnam again in an attempt to protect a country from itself.

    Oh wait.....


    October 21, 2008 at 8:41 pm |
  8. Luke, Boston, MA

    Iraqi parlimentarians are being bribed by Iran to vote against the status of forces agreement.

    Iran is controlled by an islamic theocracy. The current islamic leadership in Iran and its president want to destroy Israel. We, the United States have a duty to continue on as Israel's protector. We can not allow Iranian domination of Iraq.

    October 21, 2008 at 8:35 pm |
  9. Mark

    Give it back, starting tomorrow. The last man leaving needs to drop the bill off in Baghdad... One Trillion ought to cover it.

    October 21, 2008 at 8:33 pm |
  10. Franky, Chicago IL

    Well, well. It looks like some people haven't learn their lesson yet...

    "Mr. President(Bush), looks like our job ain't done here yet! We got some unfinished business to attend..." I hope I didn't sound mean, LOL!!

    Notice what I was doing...

    October 21, 2008 at 8:16 pm |
  11. Papasan in Arizona

    O.K. with me!

    October 21, 2008 at 8:14 pm |
  12. Teresa Chicago

    Not so fast. if Mc Cain going to take White House 100 years will not do that.

    October 21, 2008 at 8:12 pm |
  13. Matt

    Understandably this is the stance that their government must take to appease the Iraqi public, but with a small amount of research its painfully clear that Iraq is not yet ready to handle its day to day security issues, albeit closer than it has been since 2003, but still not at the level where all US troops can simply pack up and go home. The surge and the awakening have worked, but you cannot reverse thousands of years of tribal and religious separation in a year. I agree its up to the Iraqis to take the reigns of their own nation, but as the nation that toppled their old regime, we owe it to them to do everything in our power to set them up for success...

    October 21, 2008 at 8:06 pm |
  14. jodie

    Let them have their country. After all, I'm not sure what winning in Iraq meant anyways....after all, the mission was to remove weapons of mass destruction. SInce we didn't find them, do we stay until we do an that's a "win." Even the Republicans can't articulate what a win is. For George Bush it was watching the Statue of Sadam come down. Therefore, he was proclaiming the we had won then...and he's always right LOL so we have already won. It is time that they take their country back and rebuild it the way they want, with their own money. Then maybe pay some of it back to us.

    This seems to fit right into the Obama timeline.

    October 21, 2008 at 7:55 pm |
  15. Gary Chandler in Canada

    CNN brags about 'keeping us informed' and 'news we can trust', but they ONLY run the American casualty total on the Ticker at the bottom of the screen.
    Why not the Iraqi death toll? HUH?

    October 21, 2008 at 7:53 pm |
  16. Paula (Indiana)

    Can you blame them for wanting us out of their country. It's not like we were invited. If my memory serves me correctly, one George W. Bush, against warnings from many, sent American troops into Iraq looking for WMD's. The costliest wild goose chase in the history of the world... and they never even found any WMD's. Imagine that! We're the dummies though... we elected Bush not once, but twice. Shame on us!

    October 21, 2008 at 7:43 pm |
  17. Brenda Harris

    Bring our young people home, stop the killing and draining our billions of dollars that will put us back on financial track.

    October 21, 2008 at 7:41 pm |
  18. JC- Los Angeles

    Please, please, please give Iraq their country back so we can start the long and painful process of getting our country back.

    The Bush regime is almost up and it's high time America returns to its former glory.

    Counting the days.

    October 21, 2008 at 7:31 pm |
  19. Bret Peters

    We need to follow the plan Obama put out 2 years ago, that Bush now is moving 2, that Iraq wants. Give our troops a break, then hit Afghanistan surgically with the intelligence of where we are sure the real culprits of 9/11 are, and the training camps. Not stay as McCain wants. If we leave over the next 7 months it is a victory ! Not in 100. We need help for those with PTSD, which McCain does not believes is a real condition. If we don't our vets with end up like after Vietnam. Most hooked on drugs , homeless and violent because they were not treated for PTSD. American's please wake up and save our own, with pride in their service and pride in how we care for them.

    October 21, 2008 at 7:26 pm |
  20. Annie Kate

    Withdraw our forces as fast as possible so they won't need the other ability to prosecute our military personnel for what they consider crimes on and off duty – if our military personnel need to be prosecuted our military courts should do it. I'm glad the Iraqis are giving us such a strong request to leave!

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    October 21, 2008 at 7:19 pm |
  21. Mary V., Salt Lake City, UT

    Of course the Iraqis want their country back!

    Bush/Cheney LIED to us, Americans, about the reason to attack a sovereign country......that had not attacked us!

    We have destroyed Iraq's infrastructure, we have killed and maimed countless thousands of civilians.

    OUR sons & daughters have been killed, maimed for what? Oil.

    Bush/Cheney have nearly bankrupted our Nation with this war with Iraq! And are still spending ........$10 BILLION a month. People are still dying.

    Bush's Legacy.

    October 21, 2008 at 7:10 pm |
  22. Betty Ann, Nacogdoches,TX

    Let them have it! We will take our children back AND their dogs 🙂

    October 21, 2008 at 7:10 pm |
  23. Ashley, Auburn, GA

    Give them their country back, and give us our brothers and sisters back!

    October 21, 2008 at 6:50 pm |