Global Policy Forum

US Plans Iraq Cuts Unless Deal Is OKd


By Leila Fadel

October 28, 2008

Gen. Ray Odierno, the top U.S. military commander in Iraq, told Iraqi officials last week that if their country did not agree to a new accord governing U.S. forces in Iraq, it would lose $6.3 billion in aid for construction, security forces and economic activity and $10 billion more a year in foreign military sales. The warning was spelled out in a three-page list that was shown yesterday to McClatchy Newspapers. Iraqi officials consider the threat serious and worry that the impasse over the so-called status-of-forces agreement could lead to a crisis in Iraq. Without a new agreement or a renewed U.N. mandate, the U.S. military presence would become an illegal occupation under international law. Odierno's spokesman, Lt. Col. James Hutton, said that the list "provided information as a part of our normal engagements with many in the government of Iraq." If no new mandate or agreement is in place Jan. 1, the United States would stop sharing intelligence with the Iraqi government and cease to provide air-traffic control, air defense, SWAT-team training, or advisers in government ministries, the document says. It also says there would be no "disposition of U.S.-held Iraqi convicts" without a security agreement.

Odierno's letter also says that U.S. forces would stop training Iraq's security forces and its barely functioning navy and air force, stop patrolling its borders, and stop protecting its waterways. The U.S. military would stop employing about 200,000 Iraqis and would not refurbish 8,500 humvees it has given the security forces. Nearly every Iraqi unit works in tandem with the 151,000 U.S. troops in Iraq, and U.S. military teams are training Iraqi security forces nationwide. With no pact, U.S. troops would pull back to their bases and begin to withdraw from Iraq, U.S. officials have said. Without coalition forces, Iraq would virtually shut down. The U.S. military controls the Iraqi intelligence services and airspace, and Iraqi officials often use U.S. military aircraft to travel safely. The Iraqi government is unable to monitor air traffic over the country, so commercial planes flying over Iraq would have to be rerouted and flights to and from the country would be grounded. The Iraqi government is examining contingency plans. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki wants an extension of the U.N. mandate, but with changes that would allow the Iraqi government to prosecute private contractors in Iraq. The United States would veto any changes to the mandate, which provides immunity from prosecution for U.S. troops and contractors. Iraq's dominant Shiite Muslim alliance is demanding changes to the latest draft of the security agreement. Iraqi officials said in interviews that an agreement by Dec. 31 was virtually impossible at this point."



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