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Security agreements mean Iraq occupation will continue to 2012 and beyond
Thursday, December 4, 2008 :For more than five-and-a-half years, and at the cost of the lives of at least one million Iraqis and over 4,200 Americans, the US has occupied Iraq and repressed all opposition to its presence. The Iraqi parliament's ratification of a status of forces agreement and "Strategic Framework" with the US on November 27 ensures the ongoing occupation of the country and formalises its status as a US client state.
The status of forces goes into effect on January 1, the same day a United Nations mandate expires, and provides a legal framework for American operations inside Iraq until December 31, 2011. President-elect Barack Obama has put his stamp of approval on the new arrangements.
With the armed resistance largely drowned in blood, US combat troops will pull back to some 400 fortified bases outside the country's population centres by the middle of next year. The Iraqi government, however, can at any time request American military assistance in combat operations against "terrorists", "outlaw groups" and "remnants of the former regime". "Non-combat" components of the US military will provide "training, equipping, supporting, supplying and upgrading logistical systems" for the Iraqi security forces. Iraq can also request "temporary support" from the US for the "surveillance and control of Iraqi air space".
American troops and civilian contractors employed by the US Defense Department will continue to operate with full immunity from Iraqi law, except in the rare cases where they are off duty and off their bases. The US occupation forces can continue to import and export equipment and goods, and move personnel in and out of the country without being subject to any taxes, custom charges or even inspection by Iraqi agencies.Read More