The Firestorm Ahead | Immanuel Wallerstein:
"The general commanding the U.S. forces, Ray Odierno, is obviously extremely unhappy and is patently scheming to find excuses to reestablish a direct U.S. role. Recently, he met with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki of Iraq and President Masoud Barzani of the Kurdish Regional Government. Odierno sought to persuade them to permit tripartite (Iraqi/Kurdish/American) joint patrols in Mosul and other areas of northern Iraq, in order to prevent or minimize violence. They politely agreed to consider his proposal. Unfortunately for Odierno, his plan would require a formal revision of the SOFA agreement.
Originally, there was supposed to be a referendum in the beginning of July on popular approval of the SOFA agreement. The United States was afraid of losing the vote, which would have meant that all U.S. forces would have had to be out of Iraq by Dec. 31, 2010, one full year earlier than the theoretical date in the SOFA agreement.
The United States thought it was very clever in persuading al-Maliki to postpone this referendum to January 2010. Now it will be held in conjunction with the national elections. In the national elections, everyone will be seeking to obtain votes. No one is going to be campaigning in favor of a “yes” vote on the referendum. Lest this be in any doubt, al-Maliki is submitting a project to the Iraqi parliament that will permit a simple majority of “no” votes to annul the agreement. There will be a majority of “no” votes. There may even be an overwhelming majority of “no” votes. Odierno should be packing his bags now. I’ll bet he still has the illusion that he can avoid the onset of the firestorm. He can’t."