National Press Club

Iraqi Spokesman Lauds Status of Forces Agreement with U.S.

December 15, 2008 | By Peter Hickman

Most Iraqis think the Status of Forces Agreement their government recently signed with the U.S. "is good for them and the best available arrangement possible at present," Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh told a Dec. 11 Newsmaker.

The SOFA is part of a strategic framework agreement and defines the role of the U.S. military in Iraq whose UN mandate expires at year's end. It is seen by many as a success for both Washington and Baghdad, and a serious setback for Iran in the region.

Al-Dabbagh said Iraq has "suffered more than any country in the region" from Iranian activities but said "Iran is a player in the area, whether Iraq accepts it or not."

He added that Baghdad wants to increase the security picture in the region so Iran "will not be a destabilizing force." He also said Iraq is working to "improve the investment atmosphere" in the country, and that he and members of his party hope to meet with members of the Obama transition team during their Washington visit.