Occupation Agreements
This page > Agreement History After the "Declaration of Independence" The "Non-Treaty" Agreement U.N. Security Council Resolutions

Introduction: Agreement History

In the U.S. occupation that followed the initial illegal invasion of Iraq in March 2003, it was necessary to establish a "legal" basis under which Multinational Force (MNF: essentially American and British) troops were to operate on Iraqi soil. This basis has progressed through a series of forms:

  1. United Nations Security Council authorizing resolutions -- these have consisted of:

    1. Two intial resolutions in May and August of 2003, acknowledging the on-the-ground reality of the occupation
    2. Three subsequent annaul re-authorizations in 2004, 2005, and 2006
    3. An expressly final re-authoriztion in 2007, to last through December 2008, different from previous resolutions because it was solicited by the al-Maliki government after it had been ordered by the Iraqi parliament to not seek such a reauthorization.

  2. The long-term "non-treaty" agreement -- The Bush administration, faced with the expressly final U.N. resolution, scheduled to last only through 2008, attempted to set up a long-term agreement to handle subsequent arrangements.

    1. An intial November 2007 draft agreement -- the Statement of Principles, followed by an op-ed defense by the Secretaries of State and Defense -- consisted of two parts:
      1. Status of Forces Agreement -- establishes a legal basis for U.S. military presence in Iraq, with the possibility of an endless occupation and "enduring" military bases;
      2. Strategic Framework Agrement -- lays out political, economic and cultural aspects of the U.S./Iraq relationship (including a controversial locking in of many of the original "100 Orders" laws laid out under the original Coalition Provisional Authority by L. Paul Bremer, which radically altered the economy and are viewed by many as tantamount to making Iraq a colony of the U.S.).
    2. While this agreement disappeared from the mainstream media for months, the legislative branches of both governments were becoming increasingly concerned that the executive branches were creating a long-term agreement consisting of problematic provisions about which they would have neither input nor approval.
      1. Legislatures -- The Iraqi Parliament was concerned about serious breaches of sovereignty, while some in the U.S. Congress were concerned about long-term military involvement tying the hands of the next President.
      2. Executives -- The al-Maliki government alternated between saying it would and would not seek parliamentary approval; the Bush administration claimed that the Status of Forces part of the agreement was like any other of the 90-some such agreements around the world -- not a treaty -- and thus did not require Congressional approval.
    3. The Bush administration ultimately pushed for -- and expressed confidence in -- a July 31 deadline for concluding negotiations. In June, the American demands became widely known in Iraq, and were widely seen as clear violations of Iraq sovereignty, and implied the use of Iraq in attacking other countries. A partial list of the original demands includes:

  3. What's next? -- The political firestorm these created in Iraq could not be ignored by the al-Maliki government. The U.S. began to back away from some of these demands. But on July 7, the al-Maliki government "declared independence," saying it wanted a time-line for withdrawal of "combat troops," and the agreement negotiations broke down.
This page provides links to documents, news, and analysis concerning the various stages of this authorization agreement story.

Developments Subsequent to the 7 July 2008 "Declaration of Independence"     (TOP)

  1. Iraqi Leader: U.S. Should Leave as Soon as Possible, 20 July 2008
    Associated Press
    "Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki says U.S. troops should leave Iraq 'as soon as possible,' according to a magazine report, and he called presidential candidate Barack Obama's suggestion of 16 months 'the right timeframe for a withdrawal." In Baghdad, however, the chief spokesman for al-Maliki issued a statement Sunday saying the prime minister's comments were 'not conveyed accurately' by Germany's Der Spiegel magazine. . . 'That [candidate Obama's 16-month timeline], we think, would be the right timeframe for a withdrawal, with the possibility of slight changes,' al-Maliki was quoted as saying. 'Those who operate on the premise of short time periods in Iraq today are being more realistic. Artificially prolonging the tenure of U.S. troops in Iraq would cause problems.' Asked when U.S. forces would leave Iraq, he responded, 'As soon as possible, as far a we're concerned.' . . ."
  2. Negotiations continue over long-term US presence in Iraq, 14 July 2008
    James Cogan, World Socialist Website
    This article contains a good description of what appears to be the next phase of the agreement saga -- the "memorandum of understanding" mentioned by al-Maliki on July 7, which is hardly the widely-intepreted American withdrawal.
    ". . . Ali al-Adeeb, a close advisor of Maliki, explained to the Associated Press what actually is being proposed. After the Iraqi military and police have taken over security responsibility for all 18 Iraqi provinces, most likely by the middle of 2009, Maliki is proposing that US forces withdraw from the country's population centres. But a reduced American force would remain in heavily fortified 'joint' US-Iraqi bases such as Balad, until such time as the Iraqi government decided that the security situation no longer required US assistance -- in other words, indefinitely. Leaks about the proposed understanding indicate that it would provide American troops with ongoing legal immunity, as they have in virtually every other country where they are stationed. The US would have the right to use Iraqi air space until such time as the virtually non-existent Iraqi air force was capable of defending its skies. The US military would be able to undertake operations inside the country in 'consultation' with the Iraqi government and armed forces. . . In the lead up to provincial elections, Da'wa and ISCI hope to be able to campaign as the parties that secured a 'timetable' for the withdrawal of US troops. By negotiating an 'understanding' rather than a formal agreement, Maliki may be trying to avoid putting the document before the Iraqi parliament. Under the Iraqi constitution, any international treaty must be endorsed by a two-thirds majority. Well over a third of the parliamentarians have indicated they would reject any pact that includes immunity for foreign troops. Representatives of the Bush administration have signalled that they are prepared to go along with Maliki's plan. It does not in any way threaten the main American objective, which is permanent use of the main bases it has constructed in Iraq."

Attempts at a "Non-Treaty" Agreement (pre-July 7)     (TOP)

  1. Key Iraqi Leaders Deliver Setbacks to U.S., 14 June 2008
    Amit R. Paley and Karen DeYoung
    With the fall provincial elections approaching, Iraqi leaders are trying to position themselves as standing up to the Americans. While Prime Minister al-Maliki is rejecting key U.S. demands on June 13 (article below), his opponent Muqtadr al-Sadr is calling for the creation of a new, small armed wing of the Mahdi Army to fight Americans and only Americans, with weapons restricted to them, the rest of the Army being converted to a permanent peaceful organization. al-Maliki, pointing to several unacceptable items in the draft agreement, said he was "'astonished by those who are talking about how close the agreement is to be signed.'" Meanwhile, phrases asking for an end to "U.N. occupation" of Iraq were deleted from the presentation at the U.N. by Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari. The U.N. mandate and a Bush executive order are protecting from Sadaam-era international legal claims $50 billion in Iraqi government funds held in the N.Y. Federal Reserve Bank. Reports (denied by the U.S.) claim the U.S. is using the potential loss of that protection as a bargaining chip in the long-term agreement negotiations.
  2. Iraq Says U.S. Security Pact Talks at Impasse, 14 June 2008
    Alissa J. Rubin, New York Times
    "Iraq's negotiations with the United States on a security agreement governing America's long-term involvement in the country are at an impasse because America's demands infringe upon Iraqi sovereignty, the country's prime minister said Friday. The comments were the first by the prime minister, Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, in which he explicitly detailed the main points of contention between the United States and the Iraqi government in the negotiations for the security agreement. . . American officials said their own unofficial translation of Mr. Maliki's remarks suggested that he was referring to an initial draft of the security agreement, not the current one, and that the United States had made concessions to address Iraqi concerns about sovereignty. . . Mr. Maliki had a somewhat firmer tone on Friday than similar comments made on Thursday after he met with King Abdullah in Jordan. Then, Mr. Maliki emphasized that the talks with the United States negotiators were continuing and that there were many possible ways to proceed. . . Within Iraq, different Iraqi political factions hold varying views -- Sunnis and Kurds, for instance are more open to an agreement, while some of the Shiite factions, which are closer to Iran, are more critical of it. But they all emphasize the importance of Iraq's sovereignty rights. Iran's supreme leader has warned Mr. Maliki not to ratify an agreement."
  3. Bush Pledges on Iraq Bases Pact Were a Ruse, 12 June 2008
    Gareth Porter, InterPress News Service
    "Two key pledges made by the George W. Bush administration on military bases in its negotiations with the government of Iraq have now been revealed as carefully-worded ruses aimed at concealing U.S. negotiating aims from both U.S. citizens and Iraqis who would object to them if they were made clear. Recent statements by Iraqis familiar with U.S. demands in negotiations on the U.S.-Iraq 'strategic framework' agreement have highlighted the fact that administration promises that it would not seek 'permanent bases' or the use of bases to attack Iran or any other neighbouring countries were deliberately misleading. The wording used by the Bush administration appears to have been chosen to obscure its intention to have both long-term access to Iraqi bases and complete freedom to use them to launch operations against Iran and Syria." The article goes on to chronicle the way in which similar subterfuges were used to maintain a U.S. military presence in Vietnam and the Phillipines.
  4. Parties Do Battle Over U.S. Forces' Future in Iraq, 12 June 2008
    Jonathan Weisman, Washington Post
    "Congressional Democrats yesterday opened fire on comments from Republicans -- including presumptive GOP nominee John McCain -- that equate the U.S. military's future in Iraq to the presence of U.S. bases in Germany, Japan and South Korea. . . 'It's pretty clear their intentions are that we put in a basing system in Iraq that parallels the Korea-Japan history,' said Sen. James Webb (D-Va.), who is pressing the administration to submit the agreements for Senate ratification. 'The difference is, Iraq is not Korea or Japan. . . . The history of every single outside occupation of Iraq over the last thousand years argues against that logic.' . . . 'This is another partisan attempt to distort John McCain's words, to distract the American people from the fact that John McCain has been courageous and right about the surge in Iraq, and Barack Obama has unfortunately been consistently wrong,' said Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.). But beneath the jousting lay a fundamental issue: the shape of long-term U.S. military policy in the Middle East. . . " (emphasis added)
  5. Another Backfire in Iraq, 11 June 2008
    Dan Froomkin, Washington Post
    "President Bush's brashest attempt to lock in his Iraq policy beyond his presidency, like so many other Bush initiatives in the region, appears to be backfiring spectacularly. . . the American demands seem to be infuriating Iraqi lawmakers, some of whom are even threatening to kick out U.S. troops entirely. . . an ironic result of Bush's overreach could be that the domestic debate over American troop withdrawal -- in which presumptive Republican nominee John McCain is Bush's most ardent defender -- becomes moot, with the Iraqis insisting that we leave on their terms. . . [in] a joint press conference this morning with German Chancellor Angela Merkel . . . [Bush said] 'I think we'll end up with a strategic agreement with Iraq. You know, it's all kinds of noise in their system and our system. What eventually will win out is the truth. For example, you read stories perhaps in your newspaper that the U.S. is planning all kinds of permanent bases in Iraq. That's an erroneous story. The Iraqis know -- will learn it's erroneous, too. We're there at the invitation of the sovereign government of Iraq. . . And as I said clearly in past speeches, this will not involve permanent bases, nor will it bind any future President to troop levels.'"
  6. Iraqis Condemn American Demands, 11 June 2008   [very comprehensive articel]
    Amit R. Paley and Karen DeYoung, Washington Post
    "High-level negotiations over the future role of the U.S. military in Iraq have turned into an increasingly acrimonious public debate, with Iraqi politicians denouncing what they say are U.S. demands to maintain nearly 60 bases in their country indefinitely. . . 'The Americans are making demands that would lead to the colonization of Iraq,' said Sami al-Askari, a senior Shiite politician on parliament's foreign relations committee who is close to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. 'If we can't reach a fair agreement, many people think we should say, "Goodbye, U.S. troops. We don't need you here anymore."' . . . U.S. officials have refused to publicly discuss details of the negotiations. But Iraqi politicians have become more open in their descriptions of the talks, stoking popular anger at American demands that Iraqis across the political spectrum view as a form of continued occupation." Among the characteristics of the agreement and its context, some of which the U.S. is backing away from, are ". . . If the talks collapse, several Iraqi officials said, they would request another one-year extension of the U.N. mandate. But Iraqi officials said they would also ask for modifications to the mandate similar to those they are seeking in the current negotiations. . . The Iraqi government is also upset because it wants the United Nations to lift its Chapter 7 designation of Iraq as a threat to international security, which dates from Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait in 1990. Iraqi officials said the United States will not commit to supporting the removal of the label -- a position the Iraqis call an inappropriate bargaining tactic. . . The United States is a party to more than 80 such bilateral agreements in countries where American forces are stationed, but its proposals for the Iraq accord far exceed the terms of any of the others. Such agreements are traditionally signed by the U.S. president under his executive authority. Although the administration has since said that the security framework is "nonbinding" and would not include any provisions for permanent bases or specific troop numbers, lawmakers charged that the White House was trying to tie the hands of Bush's successor and said the terms of the accord amounts to a defense treaty requiring congressional approval."

  7. U.S. security talks with Iraq in trouble in Baghdad and D.C., 10 June 2008
    Leila Fadel and Warren P. Strobel, McClatchy Newspapers
    "A proposed U.S.-Iraqi security agreement that would set the conditions for a defense alliance and long-term U.S. troop presence appears increasingly in trouble, facing growing resistance from the Iraqi government, bipartisan opposition in Congress and strong questioning from Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama. President Bush is trying to finish the agreement before he leaves office, and senior U.S. officials insist publicly that the negotiations can be completed by a July 31 target date. . . But meeting the July 31 deadline seems increasing doubtful, and in Baghdad and Washington there is growing speculation that a United Nations mandate for U.S.-led military operations in Iraq may have to be renewed after it expires at the end of 2008. . . 'We're confident it can be achieved, and by the end of July deadline," [State Department Iraq coordinator David] Satterfield said. 'It's doable, that's where our focus is, not on alternatives...We're focused on plan A because we believe plan A can succeed.' He spoke less than 24 hours after an unnamed senior U.S. official told the Associated Press that the deal may not be completed before Bush leaves office next January. . . The United States has portrayed opposition to the agreement as limited to Iranian officials and followers of radical Shi'ite cleric Muqtada al Sadr, who opposes the U.S. occupation. But the chorus of rejection is growing. . . Some Iraqi parliamentarians are now saying that Iraq has a third option besides extending the U.N. mandate or agreeing to the proposed Status of Forces Agreement: telling the Americans to go home. . . [Sami al-Askari, a legislator close to Maliki, said] 'It seems from the draft (agreement) and from the discussions that the Americans have something else [than helping Iraqi self-defense] in their mind, for instance fighting Al Qaida or terrorism. That's why they want a free hand in arresting any Iraqi. But the Iraqis say, "no you don't have the free hand".'"
  8. U.S. seeking 58 bases in Iraq, Shiite lawmakers say, 9 June 2008
    Leila Fadel, McClatchy Newspapers
    ". . . Leading members of the two ruling Shiite parties said in a series of interviews the Iraqi government rejected this proposal along with another U.S. demand that would have effectively handed over to the United States the power to determine if a hostile act from another country is aggression against Iraq. Lawmakers said they fear this power would drag Iraq into a war between the United States and Iran. . . 'The points that were put forth by the Americans were more abominable than the occupation,' said Jalal al Din al Saghir, a leading lawmaker from the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq. 'We were occupied by order of the Security Council,' he said, referring to the 2004 Resolution mandating a U.S. military occupation in Iraq at the head of an international coalition. 'But now we are being asked to sign for our own occupation. That is why we have absolutely refused all that we have seen so far.' Other conditions sought by the United States include control over Iraqi air space up to 30,000 feet and immunity from prosecution for U.S. troops and private military contractors. The agreement would run indefinitely but be subject to cancellation with two years notice from either side, lawmakers said. . . Maliki returned Monday from his second visit to Iran, whose Islamic rulers are adamantly opposed to the accord. Iran's Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamanei said following meetings with Maliki that we have 'no doubt that the Americans' dreams will not come true.' Hoshyar Zebari, the Iraqi foreign minister, criticized the lawmakers for poisoning the public discussion before an agreement is concluded. He said U.S. officials had been flexible in the talks, as well as 'frank and honest since the beginning.' . . ."
  9. Treaty tensions mount as Iraq tells the US it wants all troops back in barracks, 9 June 2008
    Deborah Haynes, Times Online (UK)
    "American troops in Iraq would be confined to their bases and private security guards subject to local law if Iraq gets its way in negotiations with the US over the future status of American forces. . . The current United Nations mandate for US troops expires at the end of this year and Washington wants to conclude a bilateral agreement with Baghdad for the future deployment of US forces. There are just over 150,000 US troops in Iraq living on scores of bases across the country, from little 30-men outposts to sprawling camps often built around old Iraqi army barracks. Construction work over the past five years has turned these bases into small towns of trailers, hangars and blast walls, equipped with a Pizza Hut, Starbucks-style coffee shops, cinemas and swimming pools. . . Ali al-Dabbagh, the Iraqi government spokesman, said that under the new deal US soldiers should be confined to the larger bases. 'We do need the Americans to leave the cities and the streets,' he said. 'They have to be there in the back and . . . in their camps. Whenever we ask them they will be ready to support and help.' . . . A status of forces agreement takes on average more than a year to conclude, but Washington hopes to seal the deal with Iraq by the end of July – a time-frame that the Iraqi side views with less importance than the content of the accord. . . Britain, which will have to sign its own bilateral accord with Iraq to legalise the presence of British troops in the country post-2008, is watching the discussions with interest. London will use the US-Iraq arrangements for its own agreement. . ."
  10. U.S. Iraq Deals Overshadowed by Rising Concerns, 26 May 2008
    Mohammed A. Salih, InterPress News Service
    "Iraqi parliamentarians are increasingly concerned that they are being left out of talks between Iraqi and U.S. officials over a strategic deal to determine the future relationship between the two countries, at a time when the U.S. Congress failed to include a provision in a bill to fund the Iraq and Afghan wars last week to restrict President George W. Bush's authority to sign such deals. 'We have not been informed about the content of the talks in detail so far,' Abdulkhaliq Zangana, from the Kurdistan Alliance bloc in Iraq's Council of Representatives that holds 53 out of 275 parliamentary seats, told IPS in a telephone interview from Baghdad. 'There is absolutely no way that the Iraqi government can make any such agreements without the consent of Iraqi parliament.' He said, however, that there is a general consensus among Iraqi parliamentary blocs for such an agreement to regulate 'the future relations between the two countries" but in a way that is "in the interests of both sides'. The Iraqi and U.S. governments have been negotiating for months the formulation of [the] two agreements, as the U.N. mandate under which U.S. troops currently operate in Iraq will terminate in December. . . With a July deadline for the agreements approaching fast, Iraq's clerical class has become more vocal against the possible deals as well. Iraq's most powerful religious figure, Ayatollah Ali Sistani, joined other dissenting voices when he recently said he would not allow Iraq to sign such a deal with 'the U.S. occupiers' as long as he was alive, Press TV reported last Saturday. . ."
  11. Can Iraq's Parliament Fight Back?, 18 April 2008
    Maya Schenwar, TruthOut
    Prime Minister al-Maliki has acknowledged it will be necessary to submit the agreement to the Iraqi parliament, which is much less U.S.-occupation-friendly than Maliki's executive branch. In the U.S., the Bush administration has said that because it is calling this an "agreement" instead of a "treaty," it doesn't require the normal approval of 2/3 of the Senate, though the administration may ask for Senate approval of the non-military portion. But recent drafts of the agreement have dropped the promise U.S. protection while retaining the U.S. (and private contractor) military forces' right -- while retaining immunity -- to be in and fight in Iraq. AFSC Iraq adviser Raed Jarrar points out that if tje agreement does go to Parliament it will probably be stalled and die there, because there's nothing in it for the Iraqis. On the other hand, although Maliki bowed to heavy pressure from Parliament to give it a say in the agreement, he might, as he has in the past on other issues, simply change his mind.
  12. U.S. Attempt to Control Iraq's Oil and Economy Continues Behind the Scenes, 7 April 2008
    Maya Schenwar,
    "The coming months may be crucial in determining what kind of 'friends' the US and Iraq are going to be over the long haul. . . In a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing last month, State Department Iraq Coordinator David Satterfield revealed the Declaration of Principles proposals have now been divided into a binding Status of Forces Agreement (on military involvement) and a nonbinding Strategic Framework Agreement (on economic and diplomatic relations). Neither would be submitted for the consent of Congress. Though Satterfield emphasized that, being nonbinding, the Strategic Framework would not "tie the hands" of future administrations, it could solidify changes the US has already made to Iraq's economic landscape

U.N. Security Council Resolutions Authorizing the Multinational Force (MNF)     (TOP)

  1. The "Multinational Force" Mandate and Related Security Council Action on Iraq during the Occupation, 16 November 2007
    Ellen Paine, Global Policy Forum
    This article covers the initial May and August 2003 resolutions widely seen as acknowledging acceptance by the Security Council of the invasion, and the annual multinational force authorizations from 2003 to 2006. The article was published before the controversial 2007 re-authorization resolution requested by Prime Minister al-Maliki in an end run around the Iraqi Parliament.
  2. U.N. Press releases w/texts of initial and multinational force authorization resolutions, (via U.N. press release search

  3. Texts of U.N. multinational force authorization resolutions (PDFs)
    [Other Iraq-related resolutions in each year are indicated in brackets]
    (using the annual lists of press releases found at, where XX is the last 2 digits of the year, and yyyy is "html" for 2003-2005, and "htm" for 2006-2007)

This page > Agreement History After the "Declaration of Independence" The "Non-Treaty" Agreement U.N. Security Council Resolutions

Contact:   info (at)
Invitation to join this effort