It’s well short of the actual legal immunity the Pentagon wanted before sending troops back into Iraq, but President Obama has backed off such demands today, insisting the personal assurances of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki are good enough.
The lack of a legal immunity deal was the whole reason US troops ended the occupation of Iraq in the first place, and only Iraq’s parliament can legally guarantee immunity from prosecution.
Back in 2011 parliament wouldn’t give it, and now is likely no different. But with the administration eager to escalate their involvement, a personal promise from Maliki is suddenly all they’re insisting.
Since Maliki is the acting Interior Minister and therefore controls the national police, it might seem acceptable for now, but with Maliki likely on his way out (at the US behest) there’s no guarantee the next interior minister will cooperate, let alone local and provincial police who are being told by their unpopular PM to ignore Iraqi law.