Thursday, January 1, 2009

A New Year Brings Changes to Iraq

Today is January 1st, 2009. Last night at 2359 the United Nations Security Council Resolution authorizing MNF-I's presence in Iraq expired. Since the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the United States and her coalition allies (Poland, Great Britain, Australia, South Korea, and many others) have operated under a United Nations Mandate.

As Iraqi Security improved, the need for that mandate and the corresponding operational abilities it provided were seen as less necessary. Thus, the United States and the Republic of Iraq began lengthy negotiations over a document that is now known as the Bi-Lateral Security Agreement (the SOFA). At 0001 on 1 January 2009 that document and its rules came into effect. It is a great moment both for the US Mission in Iraq, but also for the Republic of Iraq. The SOFA recognizes the sovereignty of the Government and Nation of Iraq and establishes the United States and Iraq as fully and equal partners in the endeavor to build a democratic government in the Middle East.

As of today, the Armed Forces of the United States are valued partners in helping Iraq rebuild their country, but are also guests of the Republic of Iraq. There might be more restrictions that make life more difficult, but it is well worth it. The symbolism of it is enormous and it demonstrates how far Iraq has come from the days of Saddam Hussein. So truly, Happy New Year Iraq!

On another unrelated note, I recommend this great article on the changing role of the Infantry Soldier in the Counter-Insurgency fight. The fight against insurgents and terrorists is only a small part of the greater fight in Iraq and this article highlights the skill and adaptability of the American Soldier.

Normally, the role an Infantry Soldier plays can be summed up simply: Infantry Soldiers are Soldiers who are primarily trained for fighting on foot. However, with ever-changing modern warfare and the enhancements made to the country of Iraq by the efforts of coalition forces and Iraqi security forces, the role of the Infantry Soldier is undergoing changes of its own. (For the rest please go to the above link)

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