Text of U.S.-Iraq SOFA

I pass this on with the caveat that I have no idea how credible it is, but the Iraq Oil Report site is claiming to have a text of the SOFA agreement signed in Baghdad over the weekend. The text is available here as a Word document.

If this is, in fact, the actual document, most of the leaks regarding the military aspects seem to have been accurate. The clause forbidding the U.S. from using Iraqi territory to launch an attack on foreign powers is there (Art. 27, sec. 3), and the Iraqis seem to have gotten what they wanted in terms of jurisdiction over crimes committed by American forces when off base and not in the line of duty (Art. 12, sec. 1). The Iraqis assume control of their airspace, which seems only natural for a country that has no air force to speak of (Art. 9, sec 3). More seriously, they can request air support from American forces, although there’s no guarantee in the document that the request will be approved (Art. 9, sec. 4). Not too sure on the operational aspects of the restrictions on search and detention (Art. 22) vs. the limited authorization for operations against al-Qaida (Art. 4, sec. 1). Seems like a slippery slope, given how widely the AQ appelation has been applied. Perhaps most odd is the inclusion in what amounts to a military document of an entire section detailing how the U.S. will help Iraq get out from under debt and reparations claims incurred under Saddam Hussein (Section 26).

Finally, the withdrawal deadline is concretely established as Dec. 31, 2011, with no conditions-based escape hatch (Art. 24, sec. 1). But the entire document is subject to an escape clause whereby either party can essentially scrap the agreement before that, should they wish:

The United States recognizes the sovereign right of the Government ofIraq to request the departure of the United States Forces from Iraq atany time. The Government of Iraq recognizes the sovereign right of theUnited States to withdraw the United States Forces from Iraq at anytime.

Just to repeat, I have no real idea how credible this is. But if it is the real thing, you now have more access to this document than the vast majority of Congress.

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