Sofa Agreement Iraq War

Could President Obama have been more enthusiastic? It is true that Mr. Obama seemed to feel that he could not impose an undesirable agreement on the Iraqi people and that he was not working with Mr. Maliki, as President Bush had done. But Mr. Obama spoke or met with Mr. Maliki three times in 2011, and Vice President Joe Biden has been in constant contact. What mattered most to Mr. Maliki was not the relationship, but the cold calculation of positive and negative points that influenced his political destiny. On the other hand, negotiations have been repeatedly disrupted by White House staff members with public statements that have kept the troop count at an imprecise level and misinterpreted Iraqi decisions. Status-of-forces agreements are used to define the rights and duties of military personnel operating on foreign soil and describe everything in detail, from how soldiers wear their uniforms and carry weapons to the delivery of their mail. But the most common issue addressed is the legal jurisdiction of foreign forces (PDF), says R.

Chuck Mason, an attorney for the Congressional Research Service. Legal protection is especially important for the U.S. military. According to a November 2003 Department of Defense directive, which sets out the status of the Pentagon`s military policy (PDF), the United States includes SOFAs to “protect personnel who may be prosecuted by foreign courts and held in foreign prisons.” As the United States prepared for a presidential transition, the Bush administration finaled long-term agreements with the Iraqi government to establish legal, economic, cultural, and security relations between the two countries until President-elect Barack Obama`s first term. U.S. and coalition forces have been in Iraq since 2003. And while the UN Security Council did not explicitly authorize the invasion, the Council authorized the presence of foreign forces in a resolution renewed annually, first adopted in October 2003. After the Iraqi government asked the Security Council not to extend the mandate until late 2008, U.S. officials had to speed up negotiations on a detailed legal framework for the U.S. presence in Iraq. Two important agreements – a status-of-the-armed agreement, which had stalled on the issue of legal immunity for US troops and dates for full withdrawal – as well as a broader strategic framework agreement – were approved by the Iraqi parliament at the end of November 2008.

Statement by General Odierno, Department of Defense News Briefing of Iraq, 30 June 2009. Available from www.mnf-iraq.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=27118&Itemid=131. In addition to the SOFA, the Bush administration negotiated what is known as a strategic framework agreement with Baghdad, which establishes relations with the economy, culture, science, technology, health and trade. Experts have questioned the mysterious way in which this agreement was crafted by the Iraqis and the United States. Officials and disagreed on the composition of the final agreement. . . .

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