In a letter to U.S. military personnel on new rules of engagement, General Ray Odierno said U.S. forces would reduce their visibility, but that this does not mean “any reduction in our fundamental ability to protect ourselves.” Odierno wrote that U.S. forces would “coordinate operations with the agreement of the GoI (Government of Iraq), and we will conduct all operations through, with and through the Iraqi security forces. … Despite some adjustments in the way we conduct operations, the agreement only strengthens the transitions already underway and I want to emphasize that our general principles remain unchanged,” he added.  As the United States prepared to assume the presidency, the Bush administration put the finishing touches to long-term agreements with the Iraqi government that were to shape the legal, economic, cultural and security relations between the two countries until President-elect Barack Obama`s first term. U.S. and coalition forces have been in Iraq since 2003. And although the UN Security Council did not expressly authorize the invasion, the Council approved the presence of foreign troops in a resolution renewed each year, first adopted in October 2003. With the Iraqi government asking the Security Council not to renew the mandate after it expired at the end of 2008, U.S. officials had to speed up negotiations on a detailed legal framework for the U.S.
presence in Iraq. Two important agreements – an agreement on the status of the armed forces – blocked the issue of legal immunity for US troops and full withdrawal dates, and a broader strategic framework agreement was approved by the Iraqi parliament in late November 2008. The Obama administration was ready to “shake up” the terms of the 2008 Armed Forces Status Agreement as long as the new agreement was ratified by the Iraqi parliament, as the first. Some anonymous U.S. officials and experts who follow the war have argued that they believe that parts of the agreement could be circumvented and that other parties could be interpretable, including: giving Iraqi justice to U.S. soldiers who commit crimes off-base and out of service, the part that requires U.S. troops to obtain Iraqi authorization for all military operations , and the party prohibiting the United States from launching attacks against other countries from Iraq.  For example, government officials have argued that Iraqi persecution of the United States.