Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Preliminary Iraq pullout agreement is no deal

Word out of Baghdad that U.S. and Iraqi negotiators had reached a preliminary agreement on when the United States would withdraw its troops is not what it seems. While the agreement, which is only a draft and has not been approved by either government, does include a June 30 date for the departure of U.S. troops from Iraqi towns and villages, the draft does not envision the withdrawal of U.S. forces until 2011 at the earliest. In addition, Iraqi and U.S. sources said the deal includes provisions for keeping foreign troops in Iraq beyond 2011 depending on the military situation, according to Cable News Network (CNN). So, the draft agreement is in actuality a deal with no meaning, since nothing that was agreed to is binding on either side. Initial reports of the draft agreement said it would commit the United States to withdraw forces next year. CNN said Iraqi Deputy Foreign Minister Mohammed al-Haj Hamood indicated that it included a date of June 30 for U.S. troops to withdraw from Iraqi cities and villages. But an unnamed U.S. official said there are no dates in the agreement, only general time frames that would take into account conditions on the ground, according to CNN. "Not a deadline, it's not a timeline," the U.S. official said. "It's conditions-permitting."

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