Iraqi Finance Minister Baqer Jabr Solagh says that the Iraqi Cabinet will vote on the controversial Status of Forces Agreement with the United States sometime this weekend. The current draft appears to be the final one, with only a month left to ratify the SOFA and the US seemingly unwilling to entertain further revisions.
The Iraqi government found the previously submitted US draft unacceptable and requested over 100 amendments. The US accepted most of the changes, but rejected an important revision on the question of troop immunity. Many top Shi’ite clerics made condemnations of the US response a central feature of their Friday sermons, leaving this weekend’s cabinet vote very much in doubt.
Massoud Barzani, the President of Iraq’s Kurdish Regional Government, also continued to express doubt that the SOFA would be signed, but warned that “if the pact is not signed, the situation in the country may deteriorate to the point of a civil war.” President Barzani has been an outspoken supporter of the SOFA and the continued US military presence, even suggesting that the 150,000-plus US troops could all be hosted in Kurdistan if the SOFA fell through.