Morning Brief: Iraq imposes timetable for withdrawal
Top Story Remember all those arguments over U.S. President-elect Barack Obama’s plan to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq? It may not be up to him anymore. On Sunday, Iraq’s cabinet finally approved a troop agreement with the United States. Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshiyar Zebari and U.S. Amb. Ryan Crocker signed the security pact in Baghdad ...
Remember all those arguments over U.S. President-elect Barack Obama’s plan to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq?
It may not be up to him anymore.
On Sunday, Iraq’s cabinet finally approved a troop agreement with the United States. Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshiyar Zebari and U.S. Amb. Ryan Crocker signed the security pact in Baghdad today after nearly a year of arduous negotiations. Under the terms of the deal, which must still be voted on by the Iraqi Parliament, all American troops must leave the country by 2011 and pull back from cities next summer.
The agreement also places significant new restrictions on what U.S. forces are allowed to do. Beginning Jan. 1, they must now, for instance, obtain warrants from Iraq courts in order to make arrests.
It’s not a guarantee the agreement will pass, but the support of Shiite Grand Ayatollah Ali al Sistani strongly suggests that it will. Another key shift, some analysts told the New York Times, may have been Obama’s electoral victory, which softened Iran’s opposition to the pact. A spokesman for Iran’s Foreign Ministry did not reject the agreement in remarks today.
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Photo: Iraqi Prime Minister’s Office/Getty Images
Blake Hounshell is a former managing editor of Foreign Policy.
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