Murphy's Law: Iraq Stands By Its Principles


March 11, 2014: Responding to Iraqi requests for help with training their commandos the United States has set up a training program in neighboring Jordan, where Iraqi troops are being sent for training courses. The Iraqis still cannot muster the political will to provide the United States with a Status of Forces agreement so that American troops can operate inside Iraq. The U.S. is sending about a hundred Special Forces personnel to Jordan where two other nations will also provide trainers. No one from the West will send trainers to Iraq without a Status of Forces agreement so Jordan is the best alternative.

In 2013 Iraq, beset by a resurgence of Sunni Islamic terrorism, appealed for international support, especially from America. The U.S. responded with some intelligence support and a few experts (with diplomatic passports) on the ground. Because Iraq refused to provide American troops with protection from corrupt Iraqi police and courts, there was no Status of Forces agreement and the only Americans available in Iraq are the few who can use diplomatic immunity. Iraq may yet come across with the Status of Forces type immunity and is under great pressure from Iran to not do so. Refusing to sign a Status of Forces agreement (which is actually quite common) is seen as a matter of honor among Iraqis and no politician has yet dared to point out countries like German, South Korea and Japan disagreed with this stand.

American diplomats in Iraq have the usual diplomatic immunity. About 200 U.S. military trainers remained behind, as part of the American embassy staff (and thus have immunity) after American military personnel left in 2011. U.S. troops won’t return without the Status of Forces agreement and that assumes the Americans can be persuaded to let their troops get involved in Iraq again. Worst of all, just bringing back American counter-terrorist forces will not solve the fundamental problem; corruption. This condition cripples the Arab world, and especially Iraq, culturally, economically and militarily. Even though a growing number of Arabs admit this is a major, if not the major problem, there’s not been a lot of progress in dealing with it.






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