Sofa Agreements

Between March 2003 and August 2010, the United States participated in military operations in Iraq to first remove Saddam Hussein`s regime from power, then fight the remnants of the former regime and other threats to the stability of Iraq and its government after Saddam. In late 2007, the United States and Iraq signed a Declaration of Principles for Long-Term Cooperation and Friendship between the Republic of Iraq and the United States of America.111 The Strategic Agreement in the Declaration was ultimately intended to replace the United Nations mandate that the United States and allied forces be responsible for its contribution to the security of Iraq. The declaration ended on December 31, 2008.112 The declaration took root in a communiqué dated August 26, 2007, signed by five political leaders in Iraq, calling for long-term relations with the United States. In accordance with the declaration, the parties pledged to “start as soon as possible with the aim of reaching agreements between the two governments on political, cultural, economic and security issues by 31 July 2008.” 113 The declaration announced, among other things, the intention of the parties to negotiate a security agreement: the United States is a party to the Inter-American Mutual Assistance Treaty (Rio Treaty), 139, for which the U.S. Senate recommended ratification on December 8, 1947. The United States then concluded military aid agreements with Guatemala, 140 Haiti,141 and Honduras.142 The agreements cite the commitments created by the Rio Treaty and address the status of U.S. personnel in each country. The United States has expanded the protection of the status, which is contained in the military aid agreements, by concluding sOFA with each country at a later date. In all three agreements, military assistance agreements were mentioned as the basis of the new agreement. The agreements reached cover several issues and should have a different legal scope on the part of the parties.

The Strategic Framework Agreement is a non-legislative political agreement under which the parties commit to cooperate in a number of areas, including diplomatic, security, economic, cultural and repressive issues. In the area of security, the agreement provides that the United States and Iraq “continue to promote close cooperation on defence and security agreements” that must be implemented in accordance with the provisions of the security agreement. The strategic framework agreement also states that “the temporary presence of U.S. forces in Iraq is at the request and invitation of the sovereign government of Iraq” and that the United States “must not use the Iraqi country, sea or air as a starting point or transit to attack other countries[], aspire or not seek permanent bases or a permanent military presence in Iraq.” The security and strategic framework agreements came into force on 1 January 2009 following an exchange of diplomatic notes between the United States and Iraq. Although the agreements had to be approved at several levels by the Iraqi government, the Bush administration did not submit the agreements to the Senate for consultation and approval in the form of a contract or a request for legal approval by Congress. A sofa should clarify the conditions under which the foreign army can operate. As a general rule, purely military issues, such as base location and access to facilities, are covered by separate agreements. A SOFA focuses more on legal issues related to military individuals and property.