The Iraqi cabinet, in a near-unanimous vote, have approved the security agreement with the US that will keep our forces in that country until the end of 2011.
The decision of the 37-member cabinet, essentially a microcosm of the Parliament, is expected to be a good indicator of whether the agreement will pass. The assembly has not yet announced the date of its vote, but it is scheduled to go into recess on Nov. 24.
The draft approved Sunday requires coalition forces to withdraw from Iraqi cities and towns by the summer of 2009 and from the country by the end of 2011. An earlier version had language giving some flexibility to that deadline, with both sides discussing timetables and timelines for withdrawal, but the Iraqis managed to have the deadline set in stone, a significant negotiating victory. The United States has around150,000 troops in Iraq.
For months, the fate of the pact has been in doubt as Iraqis have pressed for more changes on a variety of issues, including jurisdiction over operations by U.S. troops and the flexibility of the withdrawal date. The United States, which had wanted the pact concluded by midsummer, gave significant concessions. Iraqi officials said minor tweaks were being made as recently as last week.
Under the agreement, U.S. soldiers are still guaranteed immunity except in cases of serious felonies committed while off duty outside their bases.~~~
In a crucial development, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the most influential Shiite cleric in Iraq, indicated on Saturday that he would support whatever decision is arrived at in Parliament as representative of the will of the Iraqi people. Shiite officials who met with the ayatollah said eh found the latest draft acceptable, if not perfect; Ayatollah Sistani also made clear that he did not side with politicians who refused any agreement with the United States out of hand.
Now, what will happen to Obama’s claim that his plans for a quick drawdown of troops was in agreement with the Iraqi leadership?
U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama said on Tuesday he was committed to a 16-month timetable for a U.S. military withdrawal from Iraq, after a trip in which he met Iraqi leaders and U.S. officials.
Will he do as the far left has demanded he do? Will he tear up a cooperative agreement reached after many months of delicate negotiations to do the bidding of the far left?
If so it will go down as a huge mistake and will prove to the world that America and its talk of freedom mean nothing. We went in, took out a tyrant, beat the hell out of terrorists from one corner of the country to the other, and helped the Iraqi’s to stand on their own two feet and build the first democracy in a region that has known only dictatorship and despair.
And now that we have reached agreement with the Iraqi’s to stay until 2011 he would tear it up and tell them we are outta here. I mean that’s what he will do if he keeps his promise.
Somehow I’m thinking he will be waffling very soon on this subject and do his best to spin, spin and spin some more. I’m thinking he will say this agreement will allow him to keep his other promise, that the Iraqi war will end during his term.
But either way, we should be proud of where we have arrived at as a nation at war. Because of Bush and the courage he displayed by not bending to the left’s will, even when it cost him at the polls, we have ensured that those who lost their lives in Iraq did not die in vain and that millions of Iraqi’s will live in freedom.