U.S. and Iraq Agree to Withdrawal Timetable (Updated)

The Wall Street Journal reports that the Bush Administration and the Iraqi government have agreed on a timetable for troop withdrawal.

U.S. and Iraqi negotiators reached agreement on a security deal that calls for American military forces to leave Iraq’s cities by next summer as a prelude to a full withdrawal from the country, according to senior American officials.

The draft agreement sets 2011 as the date by which all remaining U.S. troops will leave Iraq, according to Iraqi Deputy Foreign Minister Mohammed al-Haj Humood and other people familiar with the matter.

Teams of American and Iraqi negotiators spent months haggling over the deal, which represents a remarkable turnaround from just a few months ago, when talk of timetables and deadlines was routinely dismissed by the Bush administration and other Republicans in Washington.

Senior officials in Washington said the talks have concluded. The deal will be presented to the Bush administration and the government of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki for formal approval or rejection.

“The talking is done,” one U.S. official said late Wednesday night. “Now the decision makers choose whether to give it a thumbs up or a thumbs down.”

The article goes on to mention that President Bush is expected to endorse this agreement. Also of interest is the fact that the Administration appears to have given up their previous stance and will now allow military contractors to be tried under Iraqi law if they are accused of a crime.

Obviously, if this deal goes through, it would be a very, very good thing. But without more detail I can’t make too much of a judgment.

(link via Kevin Drum, who’s a bit more cheered up by this)

UPDATE (Dave Schuler)

In the WSJ’s “corrected and amplified” version of the story only combat troops are to be removed. This is consistent with the position that Sen. Obama has articulated albeit with a somewhat longer timeframe (30 months or longer rather than 16). The date for complete U. S. withdrawal from Iraq remains in the undefined future.

FILED UNDER: Iraq War
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.

Comments

  1. anjin-san says:

    Could be a big step in the right direction. Let us hope. We have paid a price for our involvement in Iraq, at some point they have to take charge of their own destiny. The right is badly mistaken in thinking Democrats want failure in Iraq just to spite Bush. If we end up with a decent outcome in Iraq, he can have a ticker tape parade down 5th as far as I am concerned.

    Question, is McCain going to start questioning Bush’s patriotism now?

  2. Brian says:

    Question, is McCain going to start questioning Bush’s patriotism now?

    An even better question, what importance is there in McCain’s foreign policy “experience” if Bush finalizes the end of major military action abroad?

    I think it unlikely that even another Bush term would bring war again.

    What, then, makes McCain’s “dangerous world” rhetoric necessary or urgent?

    I think it would be wise of McCain to peddle some other major issues more domestically involved in the weeks to come.

  3. Pug says:

    So Bush himself is now ready to “cut-n-run”.

  4. Hal says:

    We’re all appeasers now.

  5. Michael says:

    An even better question, what importance is there in McCain’s foreign policy “experience” if Bush finalizes the end of major military action abroad?

    I think it unlikely that even another Bush term would bring war again.

    What, then, makes McCain’s “dangerous world” rhetoric necessary or urgent?

    There will always be conflicts in the world, and the US will always need a good foreign policy, even in times of relative peace.

  6. Dave Schuler says:

    the US will always need a good foreign policy

    The bad news is that neither candidate is offering a good foreign policy. The good news is that we’ve muddled through with a lousy foreign policy for more than 200 years.

  7. sam says:

    The good news is that we’ve muddled through with a lousy foreign policy for more than 200 years.

    Dave, would you say that that’s about par for large, modern nation states? (modern=within the last 200 years)

  8. DMan says:

    The bad news is that neither candidate is offering a good foreign policy.

    This is probably true, but I’d say one candidate in particular is offering a god awful foreign policy. Unless of course you believe a timetable for withdrawal in Iraq is waving a white flag of surrender and antagonizing your enemies with bellicose language is good policy.

  9. Michael says:

    The bad news is that neither candidate is offering a good foreign policy. The good news is that we’ve muddled through with a lousy foreign policy for more than 200 years.

    I think that, almost by definition, foreign policy can only range from bad to dangerous.

  10. Dave Schuler says:

    Dave, would you say that that’s about par for large, modern nation states

    I think that practically every large, modern state has a better foreign policy we do. Better for them I mean.

    A lot of that is part and parcel of our overall system. We don’t really have a foreign policy in the sense that, say, Britain or France does. Our foreign policy is an emergent phenomenona—the product of the interaction of the many competing political, social, and economic interests in our country.

  11. Brian says:

    There will always be conflicts in the world, and the US will always need a good foreign policy, even in times of relative peace.

    Couldn’t agree more. But the fist-shaking, War-on-Terrorism urgency that seems to come across as McCain’s message is not needed. Especially because we may not be actively engaged in a military offensive. Particularly one the public believes to be related to the Sept. 11 attack.

  12. Tlaloc says:

    I think that practically every large, modern state has a better foreign policy we do. Better for them I mean.

    In some ways we’ve made that easy for them. So long as we’re determined to be the bad cop on the world stage everyone else has plenty of opportunities to play good cop. Now some screw up those opportunities badly, but most will get at least an occasional score.