Iraq: Secret SOFA provisions exposed
As Iraqi Parliament discussed the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA), a local media outlet - al-Moheet - denounced the existence of secret provisions that affected their country. It is unclear whether such articles are really being discussed at all in secret or already imposed on Iraq.
An Iraqi media outlet has exposed 'secret' provisions of the US-sought security pact amid ongoing parliamentary deliberations on the deal. The US seeks to legitimize its presence in Iraq beyond the expiration of its December 31 UN mandate in the country. The Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) it has pressured Iraq to finalize could provide Washington the legal backing it needs.
As far as the actual content of the pending SOFA is concerned, the White House has refused to publish the official English text of the agreement. While US and Iraqi government officials have alleged that no part of the US agreement has been kept confidential, al-Moheet on Wednesday published what it called secret segments of the pending agreement. The 'secret' articles posted on the Arabic-language website follows:
1. US forces are authorized to set up military bases to support Iraqi troops based on the security situation in the country.
2. This document is an agreement and not a treaty.
3. The Iraqi government and judiciary cannot prosecute US civilians or military personnel stationed in the country. All Americans are subject to immunity.
4. US forces are authorized to set up security establishments such as prison centers, which will be operated by the US military.
5. US forces have the privilege to do as they please inside their military bases and in transit. The Iraqi government has no authority to intervene.
6. US forces are authorized to arrest individuals who disrupt security and stability without Iraqi government approval.
7. The Iraqi intelligence, interior and defense ministries will remain under US supervision for 10 years.
The US-proposed SOFA has been passed by the Iraqi Cabinet and has received parliamentary approval but will be put to a referendum in 2009. MJ/AA. Original souce at PressTV