The Status Of Forces Agreements

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Status of Forces Agreements (SOFAs) are often included, along with other types of military agreements, as part of a comprehensive security arrangement with a particular country. "A SOFA itself does not constitute a security agreement; rather, it establishes the rights and privileges of U.S. personnel present in a state in support of the larger security strategy, and providing some legal safeguards for service members stationed abroad (Mason 2011)". While the host nation and the U.S. sign SOFAs after extensive negotiations, many believe they are a threat to the sovereignty of the host nations and an exercise of U.S. influence in the world. So, is the sovereignty of a host nation compromised by signing these agreements? Is this a zero sum game for the countries entering the arrangements, or it is more about cooperation and mutual benefit to the signatories? Long lasting SOFA’s like the one between the U.S. and South Korea (ROK) seem to have endured the test of time and the domestic and international criticism that generates. On the other hand, short-lived agreements like the one between the U.S. and Iraq succumbed to the internal political turmoil created by the presence of foreign military forces on their soil. In this document, I will try to compare and contrast both agreements in an attempt to demonstrate that the circumstances that generated the agreement play an essential part in the quality and the duration of it. Studying SOFAs is important in the field of
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