Iraqis Take Control of Green Zone: Americans to Maintain Troop Presence
The U.S. is turning over the Green Zone in Baghdad to the Iraqis today. The UN mandate expired at midnight and has been replaced by the new status of forces agreement. While the Americans will still have some heavily guarded compounds and will maintain a security presence, their footprint will be much smaller.
The agreement says Iraq may request help from the U.S. military "for limited and temporary support" in providing security for the Green Zone, but it leaves the details to be worked out by [bilateral] committee members who were recently appointed.
Speaking privately, U.S. officials said they will try to make their presence in the Green Zone less conspicuous in coming days. But they will remain in charge of issuing badges that grant varying levels of access into the area. They said they will not immediately dismantle a vast security apparatus that includes hundreds of Peruvian and Ugandan guards, body-scanning machines, bomb-sniffing dogs and surveillance cameras.