Iraq SOFA Under Strain

The U.S.-Iraq SOFA agreement is being doubly tested. The NY Times reports that U.S. and Iraqi military commanders will be discussing whether or not to exempt Mosul from the agreement’s June 30 deadline to withdraw U.S. combat troops from Iraqi cities. At the same time, the Times of India reports that Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has officially protested an allegedly unauthorized raid by U.S. troops, one that Le Monde claims left an Iraqi woman and police officer dead. Maliki is calling for the troops responsible to be delivered to the Iraqi courts.

The developments cap a period of heightened violence in Iraq, and while neither are unmanageable, they both serve as a reminder of how quickly the best-laid plans can be overtaken by events on the ground. They also underscore the degree to which none of the fundamental questions about our withdrawal in anything but a best-case scenario have been settled.