Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA): What Is It, and How Might One Be Utilized in Iraq? [June 16, 2008] [open pdf - 177KB]
"The United States has been party to multilateral and bilateral agreements addressing the status of U.S. armed forces while present in a foreign country. These agreements, commonly referred to as Status of Forces Agreements (SOFAs), generally establish the framework under which U.S. military personnel operate in a foreign country, addressing how the domestic laws of the foreign jurisdiction shall be applied toward U.S. personnel while in that country. In light of the 'Declaration of Principles,'signed by U.S. President George W. Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Kamel Al-Maliki on November 26, 2007, and the possibility that the United States will enter into a SOFA with the Government of Iraq, there is considerable interest in Congress in SOFAs, what they may cover, and how they have been concluded in the past. […] The SOFA may be unique from other SOFAs concluded by the United States in that it may contain authorization by the host government -- the government of Iraq -- for U.S. forces to engage in military operations within Iraq. The United States is currently party to more than 100 agreements that may be considered SOFAs. A list of current agreements is included at the end of this report categorized in tables according to the underlying source of authority, if any, for each of the SOFAs."
CRS Report for Congress, RL34531