US seeking legal protections for troops heading to Iraq, which Iraq refused to sign in 2011

Robert Burns / The Associated Press
June 20, 2014 11:03 AM

WASHINGTON - The Pentagon expects Iraq to agree in writing to legal protections for the military advisory teams that President Barack Obama is sending as part of an effort to stiffen Iraqi defences against insurgents, a spokesman said Friday.

"I can assure you we will have those protections," the Pentagon press secretary, Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby, told reporters. He said U.S. officials are currently consulting with the Iraqi government about that issue.

Iraq refused to agree to such legal protections for a much larger number of U.S. troops that the Obama administration had proposed leaving in Iraq after its combat mission ended in December 2011. As a result, that residual force was never deployed.

Kirby said the U.S. does not need a Status of Forces Agreement of the type it tried to negotiate with Iraq in 2011. He was not specific about the type of written agreement being sought in this case but said he had no doubt it will be obtained.

"I'm confident that the legal protections that are needed will be in place," he said.

The point of having such legal protections is to ensure that U.S. troops would be subject to the U.S. military justice system if needed and not to the Iraqi judicial system.

Obama earlier this week authorized the deployment of up to 300 special operations forces into Iraq to assess and assist the Iraq security forces as they battle an aggressive insurgent group, the al-Qaida breakaway group known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, which also is fighting in neighbouring Syria.

Kirby said the first portion of that U.S. force would be comprised of military members who are already in Baghdad as part of the Office of Security Cooperation-Iraq, which is part of the U.S. Embassy. They will focus on assessing the state of Iraq's security forces and the state of the insurgency; that assessment will inform decisions about how follow-on adviser teams will be used, he said.


© Coast Reporter
Coast Reporter

Email to a Friend

Close

QUESTION OF THE WEEK POLL

Are you satisfied with the SCRD’s response to the recent logging activity in Chapman Creek watershed?

or  view results

Popular Coast Reporter

Community Event Calendar


Find out what's happening in your community and submit your own local events.