Congress Approves Kerry Legislation Urging Summit of Iraq and Its Neighbors to End Civil War and Build Political Solutionby Pamela Leavey
Early this morning, the U.S. Congress approved Senator John Kerry’s legislation calling for a summit of Iraq and its neighbors to arrive at a political solution to the growing civil war in Iraq. The legislation is part of John Kerry’s plan to force Iraqis to stand up for Iraq and bring American troops home, it was passed as part of the Defense Authorization bill. Given the news from Iraq today that Baghdad is under curfew over a suspected suicide bombing plot, it’s clear the situation in Iraq is continuing to spiral downward. We simply can not continue to ‘stay the course.’
The news of Congress passing the Kerry legislation comes on the heels of the explosive news about Bob Woodward’s new book, ‘State of Denial’ which reveals that there has been “a vast difference between what the White House and the Pentagon knew about the situation in Iraq and what they were saying publicly.” Woodward notes in the Sunday WaPo, that “the release last week of portions of a National Intelligence Estimate concluding that the war in Iraq has become a primary recruitment vehicle for terrorists,” presents “a similar contrast” to the Bush’s forecast that ‘freedom is on the march’ in Iraq and the Middle East.
It’s time for a New Direction — Kerry’s legislation calls for an intense, Dayton Accords-like summit, that brings together Iraq and its neighbors and others with a stake in Iraq’s future to hammer out issues from oil revenues and power sharing to a regional security arrangement.
“Anyone who is in touch with reality knows we desperately need to change course in Iraq, and that requires a deadline to make Iraqis stand up for Iraq,” said Senator John Kerry, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
“It also desperately requires something else this administration disdains: diplomacy. Real diplomacy — a Dayton-like summit of Iraq and the countries bordering it, the Arab League, NATO, and the Permanent Members of the United Nations Security Council. Our own generals have said Iraq can not be solved militarily. Only through negotiation and diplomacy can you stem the growing civil war, and only by setting a deadline to get out can we force Iraq and its neighbors to take diplomacy seriously. Congress has now spoken unequivocally about the need for a summit and real diplomacy, long overdue. Now we must continue to press the case to set a deadline and to do it now.”
Below is the text of the amendment passed by Congress early this morning:
SEC. 1229. SENSE OF CONGRESS CALLING FOR CONVENING OF A SUMMIT FOR A COMPREHENSIVE POLITICAL AGREEMENT FOR IRAQ.
IN GENERAL.—It is the sense of Congress that the President should continue working with the Government of Iraq and the United Nations to convene a summit as soon as possible after the enactment of this Act for the purpose of reaching a comprehensive political agreement for Iraq—
(1) that promotes the Government of Iraq’s National Reconciliation and Dialogue Plan of June 25,2006, which is designed to focus on many of the fundamental questions dividing Iraqis; and
(2) that address the issues of—
(B) the equitable distribution of oil revenues;:\TEMP\CONFRPT.XML HOLCPC
(C) the demobilization and reintegration of armed militias
(D) the inducement of the armed opposition to lay down their arms and join the political process, and
(E) the building of a renewed international partnership with Iraq aimed at encouraging the economic recovery and reconstruction of Iraq
(b) SUMMIT PARTICIPANTS.—A summit convened for the purpose stated in subsection (a) should include the following participants (as well as other appropriate participants):
(1) Representatives of Iraq’s neighbors.
(2) Representatives of the Arab League.
(3) The Secretary General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
(4) Representatives of the European Union.
(5) Leaders of the governments of each permanent member of the United Nations Security Council.