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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
January 28, 2008
Memorandum of Justification for Waiver of Section 1083 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008 with Respect to Iraq
Section 1083 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008 (the Act) amends the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, which establishes a framework for lawsuits against foreign countries and their agencies and instrumentalities under U.S. law. Immediately upon enactment, Section 1083 would put at risk substantial Iraqi assets in the United States that are crucial to Iraqs recovery efforts - including the Development Fund for Iraq, the assets of the Central Bank of Iraq held by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and assets of Iraqi agencies or instrumentalities used in commercial transactions in the United States. Section 1083 would also expose Iraq to potential new liability by undoing judgments favorable to Iraq, by foreclosing available defenses on which Iraq has relied, and by creating a new Federal cause of action backed by punitive damages. Any and all provisions of section 1083 may adversely affect Iraq or its agencies or instrumentalities, by exposing Iraq or its agencies or instrumentalities to liability in United States courts and by entangling their assets in litigation. Such burdens would undermine the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States, including by weakening the ability of the democratically-elected government of Iraq to use Iraqi funds to promote political and economic progress and further develop its security forces.
Section 1083(d)(1)-(3) of the Act provides that:
(d) Applicability to Iraq-
(1) APPLICABILITY- The President may waive any provision of this section with respect to Iraq, insofar as that provision may, in the President's determination, affect Iraq or any agency or instrumentality thereof, if the President determines that--
(A) the waiver is in the national security interest of the United States;
(B) the waiver will promote the reconstruction of, the consolidation of democracy in, and the relations of the United States with, Iraq; and
(C) Iraq continues to be a reliable ally of the United States and partner in combating acts of international terrorism.
(2) TEMPORAL SCOPE- The authority under paragraph (1) shall apply--
(A) with respect to any conduct or event occurring before or on the date of the enactment of this Act;
(B) with respect to any conduct or event occurring before or on the date of the exercise of that authority; and
(C) regardless of whether, or the extent to which, the exercise of that authority affects any action filed before, on, or after the date of the exercise of that authority or of the enactment of this Act.
(3) NOTIFICATION TO CONGRESS- A waiver by the President under paragraph (1) shall cease to be effective 30 days after it is made unless the President has notified Congress in writing of the basis for the waiver as determined by the President under paragraph (1).
A waiver of all provisions of section 1083 with respect to Iraq, and all agencies and instrumentalities thereof, is in the national security interest of the United States and will promote the reconstruction of, the consolidation of democracy in, and the relations of the United States with, Iraq. In particular:
In addition, Iraq continues to be a reliable ally of the United States and partner in combating acts of international terrorism. The November 26, 2007 Declaration of Principles for a Long-Term Relationship of Cooperation and Friendship between the Republic of Iraq and the United States of America confirmed the commitment of the United States and Iraq to build an enduring relationship in the political, diplomatic, economic, and security arenas and to work together to combat all terrorist groups and international terrorism, including al-Qaida. This Declaration reinforced the crucial actions Iraq is taking against terrorists groups, including al-Qaida.
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