Posts Tagged ‘Status of Forces Agreement’

Pentagon Wary of Fast Iraq Withdrawal

November 24, 2008

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President-elect Barack Obama is facing an early confrontation with the Pentagon over the hot-button issue of how fast to withdraw U.S. forces from Iraq, with some senior officers arguing for a slower drawdown.

Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters that the withdrawal should be driven solely by conditions on the ground in Iraq. The statement ran counter to Mr. Obama’s frequent calls for a fixed timetable for a drawdown.

“I do think it’s important that it be conditions-based,” Adm. Mullen said. “I certainly understand there are other options, and it’s something that we look at all the time. But…from the military’s perspective, I think it’s best to be conditions-based.” Adm. Mullen, the nation’s top uniformed military officer, was quick to stress that he would carry out whatever orders he received from the new president next year. Still, the comments suggested that Mr. Obama may face a military establishment that deeply disagrees with one of his core policies.

Brooke Anderson, a spokeswoman for the Obama transition team, said the president-elect remains committed to withdrawing all U.S. combat forces within 16 months of taking office.

The comments from Adm. Mullen came a day after the Iraqi cabinet approved a long-debated security pact that would require U.S. forces to leave all of Iraq’s cities by next summer in preparation for a full military withdrawal by the end of 2011. Read the complete WSJ article

Iraqi SOFA Requires US Forces Get Search Warrants

November 24, 2008

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Some U.S. troops in Iraq could begin applying for warrants before detaining terrorist suspects or searching Iraqi homes as soon as Dec. 1 — a month before they might become required to do so under a new status-of-forces agreement.

Military sources, who asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the topic, said at least some units of the 4th Infantry Division in Baghdad would begin obtaining warrants from Iraqi legal authorities next month before making arrests or searching homes for weapons caches and other contraband in noncombat situations.

Read the full article at Washington Times

Mullen: Exit dates in Iraq deal not a problem

November 24, 2008

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The chairman of the Joint Chiefs confirmed Monday that the new U.S. agreement with Iraq calls for all U.S. troops to be completely out of Iraq by the end of 2011 and that he is “comfortable” with the deal.

“It is my understanding that the 2011 date [means] all American forces [must be] out,” said Navy Adm. Mike Mullen.

The specifics of the agreement have not been publicly released, although the Associated Press reports that the SOFA includes a Dec. 31, 2011 pullout date for all the roughly 151,000 U.S. troops in the country and that it is scheduled for a Nov. 24 vote.

The AP has also reported that according to the agreement, U.S. troops must be out of all Iraqi villages and towns by June 30, 2009. Asked at a Pentagon press conference whether that was his understanding, Mullen did not correct the date and, noting that a number of Iraqi provinces have already been turned over to ISF control, said such a shift is “consistent with how we have moved.”

Mullen said he is “delighted” that the Status of Forces Agreement Read the entire Army Times article

Czech, US agree on conditions to site radar

August 29, 2008

The Czech Republic and the United States have reached agreement on the conditions to set up a controversial US anti-missile base in the country, a defence ministry spokesman said on Tuesday.”All major issues have been solved,” spokesman Andrej Cirtek told AFP, adding that the centre-right Czech government could be expected to discuss the proposed Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) in September.

A key follow-up agreement had been held up by a wrangle between Prague and Washington over the tax treatment of the proposed US radar. Read the entire article

Draft Accord With Iraq Sets Goal of 2011 Pullout

August 23, 2008
Naval Calendar 2009

Naval Calendar 2009

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The United States has agreed to remove combat troops from Iraqi cities by next June and from the rest of the country by the end of 2011 if conditions in Iraq remain relatively stable, according to Iraqi and American officials involved in negotiating a security accord governing American forces there.

The withdrawal timetables, which Bush administration officials called “aspirational goals” rather than fixed dates, are contained in the draft of an agreement that still must be approved by Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki and other Iraqi leaders before it goes before Iraq’s fractious Parliament. It has the support of the Bush administration, American and Iraqi officials said.

American officials stressed repeatedly that meeting the timetables depended on the security situation in Iraq, where sectarian killings and attacks on American troops have declined sharply over the past year from the peak levels in 2006 and 2007. Iraqi officials, who have pushed for an even tighter target date for the United States to end its military operations, could also end up rejecting the draft agreement.

Even so, the accord indicates that the Bush administration is prepared to commit the United States to ending most combat operations in Iraq in less than a year, a much shorter time frame than seemed possible, politically or militarily, even a few months ago. President Bush and many leading Republicans, including the party’s presumptive nominee for president, Senator John McCain, had repeatedly dismissed timetables for pulling out of Iraq as an admission of defeat that would empower America’s enemies.

Read the entire article at the New York Times