With a start date of June 30, 2009 no less!
The negotiations over a withdrawal timetable follow long insistence by President Bush that setting any schedule for U.S. troops to leave would be dangerous. The draft agreement with Iraq would link troop reductions to achievement of certain security milestones, although the details have not been made public.
Listen, we all knew that we would have to set some type of timetable at some point. And to suggest otherwise wasn’t being honest with reality. We couldn’t leave in the middle of the night, and a reasonable withdrawal date was always in the card.
Still, this latest agreement is thin on details, and I don’t think we know yet if the US will have permanent bases in Iraq. My guess is that Bush would insist on it, and that would be a key concession for US withdrawal. But we don’t know quite yet…
A key part of the U.S.-Iraqi draft agreement envisions the withdrawal of American forces from Iraq’s cities by next June 30, according to Iraqi and American officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because the proposed deal’s details have not been publicly announced. A related issue is setting additional timelines for troop withdrawals, including a date by which all U.S. forces would be gone.
Said Zebari: “This agreement determines the principle provisions, requirements, to regulate the temporary presence and the time horizon, the mission of the U.S. forces.”
So, will this plan embolden the terrorists? Will it create more violence in Iraq? Will it completely destabilize the Middle East?
I’ll have more as it develops…