By Jeremy R. Hammond
Foreign Policy Journal
November 23, 2008
Crossposted on Foreign Policy Journal
There’s been no shortage of controversy surrounding what has been termed the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) between the governments of the United States and Iraq. After battling away for most of the year at what the terms of the agreement should be, the text was at last finalized this month.
The terms of the agreement effectively allow the U.S. to continue to control billions of dollars of proceeds from the sale of exported Iraqi oil held in the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. It also contains numerous loopholes that could allow the continuing long-term presence of U.S. military forces and would effectively maintain U.S. jurisdiction over crimes committed by American soldiers.
Iraq’s cabinet approved the agreement a week ago with 27 members voting in favor, out of 28 ministers who were present, with nine ministers absent. It is now being debated in the Parliament.
Abdul Qadir al-Obaidi, Iraq’s minister of defense, issued a dire warning that without the agreement and continued presence of U.S. forces, “then what happened in the Gulf of Aden will happen in the Arabian Gulf too. Pirates will start in these ports in a way you can’t even imagine.”
Governments often use fear tactics to push through controversial legislation. Before the U.S. invasion, members of the Congress were told that if they didn’t authorize the President to use military force against Iraq, Saddam Hussein might attack the east coast of the United States with biological weapons from unmanned aerial vehicles, for example. More recently, members of Congress were warned that if they did not pass the highly unpopular bill taking taxpayers’ dollars to bail out banking and investment corporations, there would be martial law in America.
Filed under: Dandelion Salad Featured Writers, Iraq, Iraq on Dandelion Salad, Politics, Prisons, War | Tagged: Hammond-Jeremy R., Jeremy R. Hammond on Dandelion Salad | 3 Comments »