The Obama administration said Monday that it has received “acceptable assurances” from the government of Iraq that U.S. troops won’t face the risk of prosecution in Iraqi courts.
It’s unclear whether those assurances were provided in a formal immunity agreement — the kind of deal the administration was unable to secure for American forces in 2011.
Now, with 300 American troops returning to Iraq to serve as military advisers as the country seeks to stave off an all-out civil war, there are questions about whether U.S. personnel could be apprehended, tried and potentially convicted for any number of alleged crimes in Iraqi courts.
But the White House seemed to dismiss that scenario Monday, arguing President Obama wouldn’t have sent troops to Iraq unless he was sure they’d be immune from prosecution.
“The commander in chief would not make a decision to put our men and women in harm’s way without getting some necessary assurances,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters Monday. “What I can tell you is we can confirm Iraq has provided acceptable assurances on the issue of protections for these personnel.”
Mr. Earnest further described those assurances as “adequate.”