Monday's "declaration of principles" between President Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki indicates the US will maintain a "long-term" presence in Iraq and involve itself closely in the Iraqi oil trade, backsliding on rules made in this year's two largest defense laws.
The 2008 Defense Appropriations Act, which Bush signed into law in mid-November, bars the United States from establishing permanent bases in Iraq and from exerting control over Iraqi oil. The 2008 Defense Authorization Act, which has passed the House and Senate and is expected to be sent to the president sometime in the next few weeks, contains similar language.
Under both acts, the US is forbidden "to establish any military installation or base for the purpose of providing for the permanent stationing of United States Armed Forces in Iraq." Although when Bush approved the Appropriations Act, he released a signing statement exempting himself from several of the law's provisions, the proscription against permanent bases was not one of them.