Thursday, July 06, 2006

Update: Rules of the Game in Iraq

Last week's Shadowland column, "The Rule of Order 17," said the agreements and resolutions governing the American presence in Iraq were going to have to be re-thought as resentments grow about crimes by American soldiers and contractors. That is precisely the context for Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's statements earlier this week, as cited on the BBC and in various wire reports:

Wednesday, 5 July 2006, 13:36 GMT 14:36 UK

Call for Iraq probe in rape case

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki is demanding a fresh inquiry into the alleged rape and murder of an Iraqi woman by US troops.

Her father, mother and young sister also died in the March attack at their home in Mahmoudiya, south of Baghdad.

"We will demand an independent Iraqi inquiry, or a joint investigation with multinational forces," Mr Maliki said during a visit to Kuwait.

A former US soldier has been charged with rape and murder.

Up to four other soldiers are being investigated.

The inquiry is the latest in a series examining alleged abuses by US troops.

'Honour violated'

Mr Maliki also called for the immunity granted to coalition troops to be reviewed.

"We do not accept the violation of Iraqi people's honour as happened in this case. We believe that the immunity granted to international forces has emboldened them to commit such crimes," he said.

US marines in Iraq

But a US military spokesman, Major-General William Caldwell, said American soldiers were not immune from prosecution because they were accountable under military law. ...

Of course, Caldwell dodges the central question. The immunity of American soldiers -- and just about any other American working on a USG contract or subcontract in Iraq -- is to Iraqi prosecution. -- C.D.

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