Redux on U.S. Troop Restrictions in Iraq

BY Herschel Smith
5 years, 4 months ago

Remember in Iraqi Commanders Move to Restrict U.S. Troops Under SOFA we said:

The notion that the U.S. would be restricted to logistical operations only during certain hours is outrageous, and a manifest increase in risk to the force.  When the fundamentals of force protection are being targeted by Iraq, it has come time for some hard lessons.

The WSJ gives us the view of some commanders in Iraq:

American troops withdrew from Iraq’s urban areas on June 30 as part of a security agreement that requires all American forces to leave Iraq by the end of 2011. But some U.S. officers said in recent days that the Iraqi government has been overly restrictive in applying the terms.

The officers said Baghdad had sharply reduced the numbers of joint patrols with the U.S., made it harder for the American military to move troops and supplies around the country, and effectively banned the U.S. from conducting raids with time-sensitive intelligence. “The basic message is, ‘you’re not wanted, go back to your base,’ ” an Army captain in Baghdad said by email.

Some U.S. officers believe the restrictions endanger the safety of their troops by making it harder to prevent insurgent attacks on the U.S. bases that sit outside many Iraqi cities. The officers also worry that advance information about the routes of U.S. convoys, which American commanders are increasingly being asked to provide to the Iraqis, could wind up in the hands of militants.

The reason for the increased risk is because information on logistical routes and times is OPSEC, and this kind of information is not divulged to anyone, especially Iraqi Security Forces who may still be badly affected by sectarianism and the presence of insurgents.

Maliki has made noises of extending the SOFA beyond 2011.

Speaking to an audience at the U.S. Institute of Peace in Washington, Maliki said the accord, known as the Status of Forces Agreement, would “end” the American military presence in his country in 2011, but “nevertheless, if Iraqi forces required further training and further support, we shall examine this at that time based on the needs of Iraq,” he said through translation in response to a question from The Washington Independent. “I am sure that the will, the prospects and the desire for such cooperation is found among both parties.”

Maliki continued, “The nature of that relationship – the functions and the amount of [U.S.] forces – will then be discussed and reexamined based on the needs” of Iraq…

The chances of the SOFA being extended beyond 2011 are nonexistent given the conditions under which it is being applied.  Any re-negotiation of the SOFA must provide maximum latitude to U.S. troops.

Prior:

House Arrest for U.S. Forces in Iraq

Iraqi Commanders Move to Restrict U.S. Troops Under SOFA




You are currently reading "Redux on U.S. Troop Restrictions in Iraq", entry #3436 on The Captain's Journal.

This article is filed under the category(s) Iraq,Iraq SOFA and was published July 23rd, 2009 by Herschel Smith.

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