This weekend the Iraqi Parliament will sit down to decide whether or not to accept the newest US draft of the Status of Forces Agreement. Senior Editor Paul Jay sat down with Sabah al-Nasseri to discuss the contents of the proposed agreement. While the US has backed down on many of its main points which were rejected in earlier attempts to pass the agreement, it appears to most observers that SOFA will once again be rejected by the Iraqi parliament. Complicating the situation is the fact that the UN mandate for the US occupation of Iraq expires on December 31st of this year, though Sabah believes that the security council will extend the mandate for another year without issue. Sabah explains how SOFA agreements normally deal exclusively with legal jurisdiction over US personnel when operating in foreign countries, but that the 2008 agreement has been combined with the broader security agreement to create an all-encompassing proposal on the future of the US occupation in Iraq. Beyond the fact that it is unlikely to pass, Sabah points out that the current proposal includes broadly interpretable language such as the US maintaining the right to self-defense, a clause that could easily be used to justify the breach of any of the major concessions that the US has made.
Sabah Alnasseri was born in Basra, Iraq, and earned his doctorate at the Johann-Wolfgang Goethe University in Frankfurt, Germany. He teaches Middle East politics and economy at the Political Science Department at York University in Toronto, Canada. His publications cover various topics in Marxist political economy, Marxist state theory in the tradition of Gramsci, Poulantzas and Althusser, theory of regulation, and Middle East politics and economy.More by Sabah Alnasseri