Global Politics

U.S. troop agreement with Iraq

(Why was this deal needed?) it's a legal framework for the U.S. to be in Iraq. The United Nations has allowed for the U.S. to be in Iraq through December of this year and after that there needs to be an agreement between Iraq and the U.S. for U.S. troops to be occupying the country. (So under this agreement, U.S. troops would come under Iraqi jurisdiction when the troops are off duty. Why is this jurisdiction such an important part of the talks?) Iraqis say it's a violation of their sovereignty to have anyone running around this country who isn't subject to their laws�an issue highlighted by American military contractors. For the American military and certainly U.S. politicians, they don't like the idea of U.S. soldiers possibly facing Iraqi justice in a country whose justice system isn't up and running. It looks like there's some nuanced language to perhaps resolve this. (It sounds like it's something of a concession for U.S. troops to come under Iraqi sovereignty.) It's an unlikely scenario but it might be a face-saving agreement for Prime Minister Maliki who's trying to sell this agreement to his government and his people. (How binding is this agreement going to be on the new American president?) The Pentagon spokesman says it's not binding at all, if a president wants to pull out troops sooner. In terms of the withdrawal date of 2011, that's a binding agreement between the governments of Iraq and U.S., and that's something the next president would have to oblige with. But there is still a lot of wiggle room in this agreement.

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