The White House is negotiating with Iraq what critics say is a treaty in all but name and could tie the hands of a future administration, reports the New York Times. The US is insisting on being granted continued authority to conduct the war and calling for legal protection for private contractors from the Baghdad government in a deal that administration officials expect will skirt requirements for Senate ratification.
America's United Nations mandate to conduct the war expires in 11 months. “This could very well implicate our military forces in a full-blown civil war" if the demands further stress fractures in the nation's fragile coalition, said one lawmaker. It's highly unlikely the Baghdad government would easily agree to such demands, particularly if it included immunity for contractors like Blackwater, whose guards recently shot dead several Iraqi civilians in a controversial operation.