U.S.–Iraq Status of Forces Agreement

The U.S.–Iraq Status of Forces Agreement (official name: "Agreement Between the United States of America and the Republic of Iraq On the Withdrawal of United States Forces from Iraq and the Organization of Their Activities during Their Temporary Presence in Iraq") was a status of forces agreement (SOFA) between Iraq and the United States, signed by President George W. Bush in 2008. It established that U.S. combat forces would withdraw from Iraqi cities by June 30, 2009, and all U.S. forces will be completely out of Iraq by December 31, 2011. The pact required criminal charges for holding prisoners over 24 hours, and required a warrant for searches of homes and buildings that were not related to combat. U.S. contractors working for U.S. forces would have been subject to Iraqi criminal law, while contractors working for the State Department and other U.S. agencies would retain their immunity. If U.S. forces committed still undecided "major premeditated felonies" while off-duty and off-base, they would have been subjected to an undecided procedures laid out by a joint U.S.-Iraq committee if the U.S. certified the forces were off-duty.

The agreement expired at midnight on the 31st of December, 2011, even though the United States completed its final withdrawal of troops from Iraq on the 16th of December 2011. The symbolic ceremony in Baghdad officially "cased" (retired) the flag of US forces in Iraq, according to army tradition.

The Iraqi government also approved a Strategic Framework Agreement with the U.S., aimed at ensuring international cooperation including minority ethnicity, gender, and belief interests and other constitutional rights; threat deterrence; exchange students; education; and cooperation in the areas of energy development, environmental hygiene, health care, information technology, communications, and law enforcement.

Several groups of Iraqis protested the passing of the SOFA accord as prolonging and legitimizing the occupation, and Grand Ayatollah Ali Husseini al-Sistani expressed concerns with the ratified version. Some other Iraqis expressed skepticism that the U.S. would completely end its presence by 2011. U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates had predicted that after 2011 he would have expected to see "perhaps several tens of thousands of American troops" as part of a residual force in Iraq. Some Americans had discussed "loopholes" and some Iraqis had said they believed parts of the pact remained a "mystery".

Read more about U.S.–Iraq Status Of Forces Agreement:  Negotiations, Approval Process, Role of Contractors Under SOFA, December 14th, 2008 Press Conference Incident, October 2011 Decision To Withdraw All American Forces, See Also

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