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Iraq says may agree timetable for U.S. withdrawal

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Fox Mccloud, Jul 11, 2008.

  1. Fox Mccloud

    Fox Mccloud Deity

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    I'm surprised that it appears that no one has posted this yet;

    Iraq says may agree timetable for U.S. withdrawal

    By Dean Yates and Ahmed Rasheed

    BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki raised the prospect on Monday of setting a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. troops as part of negotiations over a new security agreement with Washington.

    It was the first time the U.S.-backed Shi'ite-led government has floated the idea of a timetable for the removal of American forces from Iraq. The Bush administration has always opposed such a move, saying it would give militant groups an advantage.

    The security deal under negotiation will replace a U.N. mandate for the presence of U.S. troops that expires on December 31.

    "Today, we are looking at the necessity of terminating the foreign presence on Iraqi lands and restoring full sovereignty," Maliki told Arab ambassadors in blunt remarks during an official visit to Abu Dhabi, capital of the United Arab Emirates.

    "One of the two basic topics is either to have a memorandum of understanding for the departure of forces or a memorandum of understanding to set a timetable for the presence of the forces, so that we know (their presence) will end in a specific time."

    Maliki was responding to questions from the ambassadors about the security negotiations with the United States. The exchange was shown on Iraqiya state television.

    U.S. officials in Baghdad had no immediate comment. Last month Maliki caught Washington off guard when he said talks on the security deal were at a "dead end" after he complained Iraq's sovereignty was being infringed by U.S. demands.

    Both sides later said progress was being made.

    Maliki said the Iraqi and U.S. positions had gotten closer, but added "we cannot talk about reaching an agreement yet".

    He said foreign forces would need Iraqi permission for many of their activities once the U.N. mandate ended.

    "This means the phenomena of unilateral detention will be over, as well as unilateral operations and immunity," he said.

    Maliki did not clarify who the immunity referred to.

    Officials have said contractors working for the U.S. government would lose immunity from Iraqi law, but Washington is highly unlikely to let the same thing happen to U.S. solders.

    MALIKI WOOS ARAB STATES

    Maliki, dismissed as weak and ineffective for most of his tenure since taking over as prime minister in May 2006, has been increasingly assertive in recent months.

    He has launched crackdowns on Shi'ite militias and also al Qaeda, with U.S. forces playing a mainly supporting role.

    He has also called on Arab states to re-engage with Iraq.

    Sunni Arab countries have long been reluctant to extend full legitimacy to the Iraqi government because of the U.S. presence, as well as Baghdad's close ties to non-Arab, Shi'ite Iran.

    But Arab ties have begun to improve.

    The United Arab Emirates has cancelled almost $7 billion of debt owed by Baghdad, officials said on Sunday. And Jordan's King Abdullah is expected to visit Baghdad this week, the first Arab leader to do so since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003.

    Maliki did not specifically refer to the 150,000 American troops in Iraq, but they comprise the vast bulk of foreign forces in the country.

    He indicated the memorandum of understanding would be used instead of the formal Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) being negotiated. The MoU could be a stop-gap measure given some of the difficulties getting a full SOFA deal in place.

    Iraqi officials had said they would submit any SOFA to parliament, where it might be subject to long and bitter debate.

    Maliki has long come under pressure from the movement of powerful Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr to set a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. forces. Sadr's movement quit Maliki's government last year when the prime minister refused to do so.

    Luwaa Sumaisem, head of the Sadr bloc's political committee, welcomed Maliki's comments on possibly setting a timetable.

    "This is a step in the right direction and we are ready to support him in this objective. We hope Maliki will show seriousness about it," Sumaisem said, without saying if the movement might then consider rejoining the government.

    Washington and Baghdad are also negotiating a separate long-term agreement on political, economic and security ties.

    After five years in Iraq, the Bush administration had set an end-July target for wrapping up the negotiations. Some Iraqi officials had questioned whether the deadline could be met.

    (Additional reporting by Ahmed Rasheed and Tim . .. .. .. .. . in Baghdad and Lin Noueihed in Abu Dhabi, Editing by Stephen Weeks)

    http://www.reuters.com/article/topN...?feedType=RSS&feedName=topNews&rpc=22&sp=true

    Certainly a step in the right direction and it absolves the presidents Bush and Obama/McCain of the responsibility of imposing a timetable and makes the Iraqi government look more credible as not being a puppet to American interests. Sometimes perception is reality and by making their own demands and deals with the US the Iraqi government can prove they are not taking orders from the dictates of string-pullers in Washington and will look more legitimate both in Iraq and in the broader Arab world. I think this is the bet case scenario.

    Will this be an impetus to withdrawal and can the Iraqi government fend for itself should the US forces be entirely withdrawn? Is this five year occupation and war finally coming to a close?
     
  2. Red Door

    Red Door Man of Mayhem

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    I'm too busy hiding under the covers from Iran to worry about Iraq.
     
  3. Elrohir

    Elrohir RELATIONAL VALORIZATION

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    Quite honestly, I don't think this is a sign that the Iraqi government wants all American troops gone - quite the opposite, actually. I think Maliki is kind of scared that Obama is going to win, and will actually keep to his promise of steadily removing combat brigades every month, until all the soldiers are gone 16 months later. I think the idea is, if they get some sort of schedule or timetable in now (Watch - it'll be much longer than 16 months) then even if Obama wins, he won't be able to (Or won't desire to) rework the US' entire arrange with Iraq to get the troops home sooner.

    But that's just what I think. If I'm wrong, and the Iraqi government really does want to set a short timetable for withdrawal - then fine. They're a sovereign nation, and if they want every tank and gunship out before Labor Day, then that's their call.
     
  4. Cheezy the Wiz

    Cheezy the Wiz Socialist In A Hurry

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    I don't think Maliki gives a damn about Obama. I think he cares about becoming legitimate in the eyes of the other Arab leaders, this is a step in the right direction for him. Whether this is a good thing for us remains to be seen. I think you are correct, though, that this thing will certainly help whoever takes office in January, since they won't have to make the heavy decision about withdrawals, but I don't think it was at the top of Maliki's head when he proposed it.
     
  5. Elrohir

    Elrohir RELATIONAL VALORIZATION

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    Well, maybe not personally. But I think Maliki is smart enough to care about the continued presence of American troops until Iraqi troops can completely take over. And I think the best way to guarantee that under a Democratic administration is to keep the violence low, and have a plan for withdrawal already in place. (And it's already obviously in his best interest to keep the violence under control, so the first part is already being worked on ;)) I don't think he cares about who is president per se, but I think he does, and should consider what effect the November elections will have on Iraq. It'd be irresponsible for him not to consider it.

    And yeah, I'm sure there were other factors as well, including making himself look better in the eyes of other Arab leaders, and the nationalist segment of the Iraqi population.
     
  6. scy12

    scy12 Deity

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    There is also the fact that they are foreign troops occupying a foreign country and they should withdraw sooner or later. (But not until situation stabilizes although this may prove a nice excuse).
     
  7. smoochy

    smoochy Chieftain

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    if US withdraws, iraq will crumble in to anarchy 99%.
     
  8. Ayatollah So

    Ayatollah So the spoof'll set you free

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    This could help the Iraqi govt patch things up not only with al-Sadr, but also some Sunni groups. Which will help it survive when it's on its own.
     
  9. Ecofarm

    Ecofarm Deity

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    I hope Iraq sets a timetable is is able to abide by it. We are at their disposal literally and who is not tired of it? I demand success, but I don't know/care if a timetable will help. When crap hits the fan (In Iraq or Iran) on exit, does a timetable matter?

    It will take a year or more for Iraq to be able to defend its borders.
     
  10. GenMarshall

    GenMarshall Night Elven Ghost Agent

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    About freeking time!

    I'm too busy being angry at the pumps to worry about Iraq.
     
  11. Narz

    Narz keeping it real

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    I wouldn't count your chickens yet.

    You should be happy. Gas prices (at the pump) have stagnated for over a month. They're be plenty of time to be angry when gas hits $5, $6, $7, $8 a gallon. :devil:
     
  12. Berzerker

    Berzerker Deity

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    We dont want a timetable, we want to stay... Why did John McCain talk about being there 50 or 100 years if we were planning on leaving? Unless of course a neighbor of Iraq would welcome liberation. ;)

    I'll bet 16 months or sooner is their timetable, maybe even 6 months. Obama and Maliki are on the same page, Bush and McCain are writing Iran's chapter in this storyline and it dont include Iraqi sovereignty yet... We have ways to make Maliki see it our way :hammer:
     
  13. Cheezy the Wiz

    Cheezy the Wiz Socialist In A Hurry

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    Don't worry, his fled the coop a while ago.

    Like in Yurop? I remember when we said "when gas hits $4 a gallon everyone will kick into shape and great things will happen" so on and forth, and yet here were are, with minimal change it seems, from the $2 a gallon days. I wonder if $8 a gallon will really affect us as much as we think it will? And remember, increasing oil cost is one reason the dollar is losing value, so the more gas prices "go up" the less that money is worth, so it's not really "increasing" in value as much as it feels like, is it? But really, we're just doing it to ourselves. Of course, if our dollar was backed by gold, this wouldn't be as much of a problem...
     
  14. Sims2789

    Sims2789 Fool me once...

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    We're Americans. We'll never surrender. Some say we should talk to the Iraqis about it, but that, my friends, is the foolish illusion of appeasement.
     
  15. Oerdin

    Oerdin Deity

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    The Iraqis have been demanding a time table for withdrawal for over two years now. That's why I never understood Bush's lame "We can't have time tables" excuse. The Iraqis want us out and they want us to tell them when we'll be leaving.
     
  16. Winner

    Winner Diverse in Unity

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    Pardon me, but Vietnam was what, exactly? A victory? :)

    Iraqis are not a trustworthy partner. The new government is a joke, it won't survive 2 years without the US support.
     
  17. Joker85

    Joker85 Warlord

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    Well the US only had about 20,000 troops in Vietnam by 72 and pulled out in 73 with the peace accords. The N Vietnamese violated the agreement 2 years later and do to the liberals in America there was no political will to go back and keep our promise to defense the South. As a result hundreds of thousands were killed or sent to reeducation camps. Basically the same thing they are trying to do with Iraq today; get hundreds of thousands of people to stick their neck out by working with us and joining police/military forces allied with us, then abandon them and their families to slaughter.

    America can beat any enemy. But we can't beat traitors within.
     
  18. Winner

    Winner Diverse in Unity

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    Good, this is the reason why you lost, but it changes nothing that it was a strategic defeat.

    Seriously, I was just responding to the phrase "we will never surrender".
     
  19. Cutlass

    Cutlass The Man Who Wasn't There.

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    If they tell us to go, they look like less of a puppet.
     
  20. Fox Mccloud

    Fox Mccloud Deity

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