US to Keep Troops in Sadr City Past Deadline

One Day After Pledging to Abide by Deadline, US Reaches Deal With Iraqis to Ignore It

Just yesterday America’s top commander in Iraq, General Raymond Odierno, said that a deal had been finalized and that all US troops would definitely be out of all of Iraq’s cities by June 30, as required by the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) the two nations signed last year.

Today officials are confirming that the US and Iraqi militaries have reached a “tentative” agreement to keep American combat troops in the Baghdad slum of Sadr City past the deadline. Officials are also saying that this base is one of 14 that they are hoping to keep open past the deadline.

The change hardly comes as a tremendous surprise, as US officials have presented a myriad of different official stories about the deadline. Just two days before Gen. Odierno’s promise officials were saying it “remains to be seen.”

There was already talk of the US reclassifying combat troops as “trainers” to keep them in cities past the date, and they have also redefined the borders of cities to skirt the requirement. Even with these loopholes, it seems the temptation to ignore the requirement outright was too great.

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.