BAGHDAD — New U.S. proposals have failed to overcome Iraqi opposition to a proposed security pact, two lawmakers said Thursday, and a senior government official expressed doubt an agreement could be reached before the U.S. presidential election in November.
The agreement would provide a legal basis for the presence of U.S. forces after the U.N. mandate expires at the end of this year. Failure to strike a deal would leave the future of the American military presence here to the next administration.
U.S. negotiators offered new proposals this week after outraged Iraqi lawmakers said accepting the U.S. position would cement American military, political and economic domination of the country.
The top State Department adviser on Iraq, David Satterfield, said this week that the two sides would meet a July target to finish the agreement, which must be ratified by the Iraqi Parliament.
President Bush also said this week that he was confident that a deal would be reached.
Several Iraqi lawmakers said a major obstacle was the U.S. demand for immunity from prosecution in Iraqi courts for American personnel, including both troops and civilian contractors.
Iman al-Asadi, a Shiite member of the parliamentary committee on legal affairs, said the latest U.S. proposals limited immunity to American military personnel but that was not enough.
"What happens to our dignity? What happens to our sovereignty? We want immunity to be lifted," she said.
A senior Iraqi official, speaking on condition of anonymity to protect his position, said Iraqis were disappointed that the Americans were not offering a firm commitment to defend the country from foreign invasion — a move that would require U.S. Senate ratification.
U.S. deaths: The military says a soldier was killed by a roadside bomb in Baghdad and a Marine died in a noncombat incident.
Crackdown: Iraqi reinforcements arrived in the oil-producing southern city of Amarah as the military geared up for another crackdown against Shiite militia fighters, officials said.