As Deadline Nears, US Still Unsure How Many Troops Will Remain in Iraqi Cities

Brig. Gen. Walker: "It Remains to Be Seen"

With the beginning of at hand June, the US only has 30 days left to fulfill the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) requirement for all US forces to be out of Iraq’s cities. Despite so little time remaining, Brigadier General Keith Walker says that the military still isn’t sure how many troops will remain in which cities.

It remains to be seen what the numbers will be,” Brig. Gen. Walker told reporters today. One thing he did was reject the notion that the military would simply rename all its combat units as trainers to get around the requirement.

And of course that isn’t all their doing. They’re also redefining the borders of Iraq’s cities to skirt the requirement that way. Southern Baghdad is no longer officially part of Baghdad, allowing troops to remain there without worrying about the SOFA.

Officials have been non-committal about the question of leaving cities as the deal requires, particularly given the rising violence across Iraq in the past two months. It seems that ambiguity will continue as long as possible.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.