McClatchy Publishes Translation of U.S.-Iraq Basing Deal
Wednesday, November 19, 2008 at 10:15 am
The good people at McClatchy have translated an Arabic text of the U.S.-Iraq Status of Forces Agreement into English. Check it out here. A cursory read doesn’t reveal too much difference from the version circulating a few weeks ago on the Hill that I used as the basis for my Oct. 23 piece. Here, for instance, is the money quote:
All U.S. forces are to withdraw from all Iraqi territory, water and airspace no later than the 31st of December of 2011.
All U.S. combat forces are to withdraw from Iraqi cities, villages, and towns not later than the date that Iraqi forces assume complete responsibility of security in any Iraqi province. The withdrawal of U.S. forces from the above-mentioned places is on a date no later than the 30 June 2009. The withdrawing U.S. forces mentioned in item (2) above are to gather in the installations and areas agreed upon that are located outside of cities, villages and towns that will be determined by the Joint Military Operation Coordinating Committee (JMOCC) before the date determined in item (2) above.
It also says, as I reported, that the withdrawal could happen sooner, but with a new sentence added: “The Iraqi government admits to the sovereign right of the United States to withdraw U.S. forces from Iraq at anytime.” I presume that “anytime” means “anytime before Dec. 31, 2011,” not “anytime indefinitely into the future.”
Also, Leila Fadel, McClatchy’s excellent Baghdad bureau chief, writes a great supplementary story about how the SOFA “is now called the withdrawal agreement” in Iraq because it, in her view, truly does provide “an ultimate end to the U.S.-led occupation of Iraq.” And she notes this new language in Article 27, inserted almost certainly to forstall a U.S. attack on Iran:
It is not permitted to use Iraqi land, water and airspace as a route or launching pad for attacks against other countries.
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