Iraqi Government Demands Timetable For Troop Withdrawl

Iraq’s national security advisor announced today that the Iraqi government will be demanding a hard timetable for American troop withdrawl:

Iraq will not accept any security agreement with the United States unless it includes dates for the withdrawal of foreign forces, the government’s national security adviser said on Tuesday.

The comments by Mowaffaq al-Rubaie underscore the U.S.-backed government’s hardening stance toward a deal with Washington that will provide a legal basis for U.S. troops to operate when a U.N. mandate expires at the end of the year.


Rubaie said Iraq was waiting “impatiently for the day when the last foreign soldier leaves Iraq”.

“We can’t have a memorandum of understanding with foreign forces unless it has dates and clear horizons determining the departure of foreign forces. We’re unambiguously talking about their departure,” Rubaie said in the holy Shi’ite city of Najaf.

Presented without comment.

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Alex Knapp
About Alex Knapp
Alex Knapp is Associate Editor at Forbes for science and games. He was a longtime blogger elsewhere before joining the OTB team in June 2005 and contributed some 700 posts through January 2013. Follow him on Twitter @TheAlexKnapp.


  1. Beldar says:

    This certainly shows that there are differing opinions within Iraq about whether a permanent security arrangement should be reached between our two countries that would include basing more than embassy guard troops. That’s okay — there are differing opinions about that within the U.S. too.

    In Iraq, one must suspect that there are also some contingents who expect to benefit from chaos, and therefore encourage it over stability. I don’t know whether Mowaffaq al-Rubaie is one such person or not.

    And it’s also likely that even those Iraqi politicians who privately recognize the need for a continued U.S. presence to support a stable Iraqi government will feel obliged, from time to time, to make statements for public consumption that are considerably more radical and natioanlist than they truly feel.

    So my ultimate comment would be: This is an interesting data point, but not very conclusive of anything.

  2. Beldar says:

    “natioanlist” —> “nationalist.”

  3. Bithead says:


    Add to that my read that this is simple negotiation… and you have it.

  4. Dave Schuler says:

    If the Iraqi government were to ask us to leave, I think we’d be on the horns of a dilemma. Either we’d leave which under the circumstances I think would be the right thing to do or we’d have to overthrow another Iraqi government.

    The government of Iraq is either sovereign or it isn’t. I think that the evidence right now is that it is and this report is a sign of a minister shooting his mouth off which can happen in a sovereign state. Heaven knows our government officials shoot theirs off.

    If it isn’t I’m pretty sure we could draft better legislation that the Iraqi parliament has been putting together over the last couple of years.

  5. legion says:

    We wouldn’t have to overthrow them – we’d just ignore them. Iraq doesn’t have the ability to force the US to leave, and until Bush leaves office I predict that’s exactly what we’ll do. The tricky part comes if McCain gets elected – he’ll be stuck with all the ‘permanent’ bases that Bush has tried to surreptitiously establish & nobody but his oil buddies actually wants. Obama at least has the standing to say “anything Bush promised you on his own say-so (as opposed to with Congressional approval) ain’t necessarily so.” McCain’s kissed too much Bush hiney to get away with that…

  6. Dave Schuler says:

    Contrariwise my prediction is that the Iraqi government doesn’t ask us to leave.

    It seems to me that if we ignore the Iraqi government both we and the Iraqis would be better off if we replaced it. Note that I’m not advocating that. Just trying to follow a train of thought to its logical conclusion.

  7. teqjack says:

    If he meant “Get them off our streets” I am in tepid agreement now that local military and police are on their feet, and will be in further agreement in what seems likely to be a near future – months, not necessarily years – when they can stand alone (albeit tech assistance will remain helpful, as in spotting heat sources).

    If he meant “T’ro de bums out” I hope he can be persuaded to allow a few bases. The neighbors are certainly poised to act up if the guard dog is sent to the pound…