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.