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Blogger Translates Leaked SOFA Draft
Jarrar: Agreement Shows Weakness of Iraqi Negotiating Position
09/02/2008 1:20 PM ET

An Iraqi blogger has translated and published what appears to be a leaked draft of the US-Iraqi Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA), the pact currently under negotiation between the two governments that would regulate the legal presence of American forces in Iraq after the expiration of the United Nations mandate.

Raed Jarrar, who runs the well-known Raed in the Middle blog, posted full text of his translation via his website Monday.

Jarrar writes that he obtained the draft via an unidentified Arabic-language website linked to an Iraqi resistance group, and made his own translation.

The Iraqi blogger, who opposes the presence of foreign forces in Iraq, appends a few brief comments on the draft, writing, "What has draw my attention the most (so far) are three major points." Jarrar goes on to add:

1- the agreement does not discuss anything about a complete US withdrawal from Iraq. Instead, it talks about withdrawing "combat troops" without defining what is the difference between combat troops and other troops. It is very clear that the US is planning to stay indefinitely in permanent bases in Iraq (or as the agreement calls them: "installations and areas agreed upon") where the U.S. will continue training and supporting Iraqis armed forces for the foreseeable future.

2- the agreement goes into effect when the two executive branches exchange "memos", instead of waiting for Iraqi parliament's ratification. This is really dangerous, and it is shocking because both the Iraqi and U.S. executive branches have been assuring the Iraqi parliament that no agreement will go into effect without being ratified by Iraq's MPs.

3- this agreement is the blueprint for keeping other occupation armies (aka Multi-national forces) in Iraq on the long run. This explains the silence regarding what will happed (sic) to other occupiers (like the U.K. forces) after the expiration of the UN mandate at the end of this year.

Read a PDF of Jarrar's 15-page translation here: Jarrar_US_Iraqi_SOFA_draft_of_080608.pdf

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