Although the recently-signed Status of Forces Agreement authorises US troops to remain in Iraq for a while, it did not address what remains of the “coalition of the willing”. Australia now has permission to retain troops until the end of June 2009. The account of this agreement’s passage through the Iraqi parliament is intriguing – “passed by an overwhelming majority” and “the Speaker’s resignation overnight” don’t seem to go together terribly well. I think it’s about time they started broadcasting Iraqi parliament on TV.
I find it a shame that both the US SoFA and Australia’s agreement do not need to pass through their respective legislatures – not necessarily because the agreements are bad, but simply because we haven’t seen much scrutiny of them. Most of the reporting has focused on the process at the Iraqi end – does the agreement saying anything substantial about what role the Australian military will play during the first half of next year?