Bush and al-Maliki signed the new U.S.-Iraq "declaration of principles" during a secure video conference this morning.Meanwhile, Al-Maliki said his government would ask the UN to renew the mandate for the multinational force for one last time. ending in 2008.
"Two senior Iraqi officials familiar with the issue say Iraq's government will embrace a long-term U.S. troop presence in return for U.S. security guarantees as part of a strategic partnership. The two officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the subject is sensitive, said U.S. military and diplomatic representatives appeared generally favorable, subject to negotiations on the details, which include preferential treatment for American investments.
Preferential treatment for U.S. investors could provide a huge windfall if Iraq can achieve enough stability to exploit its vast oil resources. Such a deal would also enable the United States to maintain leverage against Iranian expansion at a time of growing fears about Tehran's nuclear aspirations."
Note that. US investors..as in oil companies and military defense contractors, as well as a slew of other US materials and services providers.
I think I owe Dave at the Glittering Eye fifteen cents.