The following article was published by Reidar Visser, an historian of Iraq educated at the University of Oxford and currently based at the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs. It is reproduced here with the author’s permission. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.
What some had warned about during the discussion of a possible post-2011 US military presence in Iraq has now happened. Muqtada al-Sadr feels he won the debate about withdrawal, instructors, and immunities, and has moved down to the next target on the agenda: The US embassy in Baghdad.
In response to a question from one of his followers, Sadr now says that after the expiration of the SOFA, the staff of the embassy should be considered “occupiers” and must be “resisted”.
This may well be the single most significant item in all the news stories about Iraq this weekend. Everyone should have known for months (if not years) that there would be no new SOFA and no immunities for US instructors.
Thanks to the failure of the Iraqi politicians to create a pro-extension coalition – and due to the failure of Washington to stimulate the formation of such a coalition – the projected US mega-embassy in Baghdad has become the next vulnerable element in American Iraq policy.