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No Permanent Bases

On July 25, 2007, the House passed H.R. 2929, Banning Permanent U.S. Bases in Iraq.  This bill states that it is the policy of the United States not to establish any military installation or base for the purpose of providing a permanent stationing of United States Armed Forces in Iraq.  It also states that it is the policy of the United States not to exercise U.S. control of the oil resources of Iraq. The measure bars the use of any funds provided by any law from being used to carry out any policy that contradicts these statements of policy.

The Congress has passed provisions earlier banning permanent bases in Iraq - but those provisions expire on September 30, 2007.  Congress has made clear in the last couple of years that there should be no permanent U.S. bases in Iraq.  For example, the FY 2007 Defense Appropriations bill contained provisions that bar the establishment of permanent U.S. bases in Iraq.  However, these provisions will expire on September 30, 2007.  The advantage of enacting H.R. 2929 is that there would then be a permanent ban, written into statute, against the establishment of permanent bases in Iraq.

The Iraq Study Group recommended that the United States clearly state that it does not seek permanent bases or to control Iraq's oil.  In its final report, in December 2006, the bipartisan Iraq Study Group recommended that the United States clearly state that our nation does not seek permanent bases in Iraq or to control Iraq's oil.  It did so to help shape “a positive climate for… diplomatic efforts,” which are essential to ending the U.S. presence in Iraq and bringing greater stability to the Middle East.

A clear statement that the U.S. will not have permanent bases sends a strong signal of support for full Iraqi national sovereignty - and weakens the appeal of extremists.  The perception that the United States intends to permanently occupy Iraq and is planning to control Iraq's oil aids insurgent groups in recruiting supporters and fuels violent activity.  A clear statement that the United States will not have a permanent presence in Iraq or control of Iraq's oil would send a strong signal to the people of Iraq and the international community that the U.S. fully supports Iraqi efforts to exercise full national sovereignty, including taking responsibility for their own security.