Negotiators have finalised a deal which will see the complete withdrawal of US troops from Iraq by 2011, ending an eight-year occupation, the top official in the Iraqi team told AFP on Friday.
Under the 27-point deal all American combat troops will be withdrawn from Iraqi cities by next June, said negotiator Mohammed al-Haj Hammoud.
The agreement has already been approved by US President George W. Bush and now needs to be endorsed by Iraqi leaders, he added.
White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe, however, said the deal was yet to be finalised. "There are still discussions ongoing," he said. "It's not done until it's done."
Hammoud said Baghdad and Washington had agreed to "withdraw the US troops from Iraq by end of 2011."
"The combat troops will withdraw from Iraqi cities by June 2009. Both the parties have agreed on this," he added. "The negotiators' job is done. Now it is up to the leaders."
Mission accomplished?! Please wake me up when you remember what the mission was... Was it to strengthen the Shiites in the Middle East? To leave Assad in power in Syria? To allow nuclear Iran? I believe it might have had something to do with fighting terror - or WMD-s or something, I just can't seem to recall what and why - and how are things better. Excuse me for taking the sarcastic disapproving tone, but I'm pretty sure at no point in time were we told the mission was to make life better for Iraqis. Is the beacon of liberty shining from the towers of Iraqi constitution - or is it the repressive Sharia? How's life for Iraqi Christians like?
Yesterday I noted that this was reported: US to withdraw from Iraq?. Fox-News published an AP post about Rice negotiating a withdrawal. I questioned the political consequences during these elections.
Just to be clear - for those who have never read this blog before: I'm in favor of the troops, regardless of the mission. I dislike the war - yet support a victory. I questioned the necessity of this war from the beginning. I think many would appreciate an honest explanation from the President as to why this war was conceived, which goals were set, and how those were attained (or not). It is my impression that the credit given to the government to defeat terror and protect the country was wasted on an impossible dream of changing the face of the Middle East. The reality of Iraqi politics, and desire of the Arabs in Iraq was in my view not taken into account - and the resulting experiment of an Iraqi democracy is a silent defeat no one wishes to discuss publicly. The troops will withdraw after achieving a military victory for the Iraqi government (not the US) - only to leave behind a nation still hostile and ungrateful.