As heated debate gives way to last minute negotiations, the Iraqi Parliament has delayed today’s anticipated vote on the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) with the United States until at least tomorrow.
No official explanation was given for the delay, but Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and his cabinet have been struggling to reassure opponents both foreign and domestic about the SOFA, There’s been talk of making the vote a secret ballot in hopes of luring more votes from blocs officially opposed to the pact.
Parliament is scheduled to go into recess this week for holidays, and a failure to vote before that recess could delay the pact until the middle of next month. Such a delay would likely also delay the release of the English language version of the pact, which the Bush Administration is keeping a carefully guarded secret from even Congress to avoid having to discuss the interpretations and consequences of the terms.
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