Iraqi MPs Challenge Coalition Mandate
A majority of members of the Iraqi parliament -- 144 out of a total of 275 -- is demanding that any future renewals of the legislative mandate of the 160,000-strong MNF be duly authorised by parliament.
"If we are asked to approve a trade agreement concerning olive oil, should we not have the right to pass an agreement concerning the stationing of foreign military forces on our national soil?" one senior Iraqi lawmaker was quoted as saying.
The existing MNF mandate, established by the U.N. Security Council in October 2003 and renewed in June 2004, November 2005 and November 2006, will terminate Dec. 31.
The Council, however, is expected to meet early next month to approve a fourth mandate renewal, at the request of the United States.
The New York-based Global Policy Forum (GPF) says the letter from the Iraqi legislators warns Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and his cabinet against recommending a renewal for 2008 without parliamentary approval. More