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Congressional Oversight and Related Issues Concerning the Prospective Security Agreement Between the United States and Iraq

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Congressional rept.

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The New York Times reported in January 2008 that the Bush Administration has crafted a draft proposal for a U.S.-Iraq security agreement which would, if agreed upon by the parties, provide the United States with broad authority to conduct military operations in Iraq, guarantee U.S. military forces and contractors immunity from Iraqi law, and provide the United States with the power to detain Iraqi prisoners. The New York Times also reported that the draft proposal does not call for the establishment of permanent U.S. military bases in Iraq, authorize future troop levels in the country, or describe the specific security obligations of the United States should Iraq come under attack. During testimony before the Senate Committee on Armed Services on February 6, 2008, Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates stated that the prospective security agreement would not obligate the United States to militarily defend Iraq in the event of a threat to Iraqi security. It is not clear whether the agreements discussed in the Declaration will take the form of a treaty or some other type of international compact. However, in a November 26, 2007 press briefing regarding the Declaration, General Douglas Lute, Assistant to the President for Iraq and Afghanistan, stated that the Administration did not foresee a prospective agreement with Iraq having the status of a formal treaty which would then bring us to formal negotiations or formal inputs from the Congress. According to a February 5, 2008 report by the Congressional Quarterly, the National Security Council offered to brief Congress on the nature of the prospective U.S.-Iraq security agreement. In a February 13, 2008, op-ed piece for the Washington Post, Secretary of Defense Gates and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice claimed that the Administration will work closely with the appropriate committees of Congress to keep lawmakers informed and to provide complete transparency.

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  • Government and Political Science

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