Was it the promise or was it the SOFA?

L. Reichard White, October 24, 2011

On Friday, October 21, 2011, Mr. Obama, invoking one of his campaign promises, announced the complete withdrawal of all U.S. Troops from Iraq by "the [Christian] holidays." Over the weekend, he and his media arm further spun the story, claiming the deadline had been negotiated by G.W. Bush.

Behind the scenes — later paragraphs — we discover that the Pentagon wanted to keep at least 3,000 to 5,000 troops on Iraqi soil. The true number was significantly larger. But they’re all leaving. Why?

It was almost certainly the S.O.F.A., the acronym for "Status Of Forces Agreement."

Obama’s announcement signals that US officials have been unable to negotiate with Iraq’s leaders a renewal of the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) governing the stationing and mission of American troops on Iraqi soil. Pentagon officials in particular, backed by a number of congressional leaders, had called for leaving a force of between 3,000 and 5,000 in Iraq for an extended period. –Iraq withdrawal: With US troops set to exit, 9-year war draws to close – CSMonitor.com

A key provision of any SOFA is exempting occupying soldiers from the laws of the country being occupied. It was this provision that Iraqi negotiators refused to renew. Thus, for example, once the old SOFA expired, U.S. soldiers who killed an Iraqi could be tried for murder under Iraqi law.

The Iraqis, it seems, found the back door to get rid of occupying U.S. troops.

This would likely work in other countries as well.

But that still leaves the drones.




7 Responses to “Was it the promise or was it the SOFA?”

  1. [...] the Iraqis find the back-door to getting U.S. troops out of their country, is Afghan President Hamid Karzai trying a different tack – – – "God forbid, if a [...]

  2. The SOFA isn't really a back door, given its importance to any troop deployment on foreign soil.

  3. liberal, if the government of the occupied country refuses the exemption status, it is nearly a perfect back door. That act alone will cause removal of U.S. etc. troops.

  4. In fact, refusing to sign the exemption status provision in a S.O.F.A. in the first place would be a GREAT prophylactic to prevent deployment of foreign troops in the first place.

  5. Real politik being what it is, of course, it would require brass cajones (or serious counter-threats) to stand up to U.S. pressure – - -

  6. The Iraqis deploy the one weapon the American Military is truly afraid of – LAWYERS!

  7. Hmmmmm. OK, a way for folks who live in foreign lands to slam their front door in the face of Empire – - –