Iraqi Referendum seen as way to "correct" U.S. - Iraq pact

A referendum next year on a newly minted U.S.-Iraqi security pact will give Iraqis the chance to "correct and reform" an agreement that has stirred controversy, a senior official in Baghdad said.

"If we find things are going differently than our expectations, then we can correct (the pact) through the referendum, which is a way to correct or reform it," Tareq al-Hashemi, one of Iraq's two vice presidents, told reporters.

The deal is a politically charged issue in Iraq, where many resent the government's endorsement of a prolonged U.S. presence more than five years after the U.S.-led invasion.

The deal can be terminated if either signatory gives the other side a year's notice.
Many Iraqis are skeptical that the United States will keep to the terms of the deal, which requires it to withdraw from cities and towns by mid-2009 and to defer to Iraqi authorities in planning military operations.


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