Monday, November 17, 2008

All US troops out of Iraq 'in three years'

And now the Bush administration, the very people who told us that timetables favoured terrorists, have agreed to a timetable which states that all American forces will withdraw from the Iraq within three years, and pulls all combat troops out of most provinces by mid-2009.

The deal for the first time prescribes a timeline for an American departure from Iraq, which the US president-elect, Barack Obama, had foreshadowed as top of his foreign policy agenda when he takes office on January 20.

In a development that caught coalition officials by surprise, Iraq's cabinet yesterday ended one year of protracted negotiations by agreeing to a series of US amendments to draft documents. All but one cabinet minister present at the meeting committed to the agreement.

On Saturday the leading Shia cleric, Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani dropped his opposition to the deal, in a shift that some observers believe paved the way for a Shia bloc in the cabinet to vote in its favour.

"The cabinet has just approved a deal between Iraq and the United States for the withdrawal of American troops," said a government spokesman, Ali al-Dabbagh.

The deal must now be ratified by the 275-seat Iraqi legislature, a process that most considered a formality.

The US embassy in Baghdad yesterday hailed the decision as a "positive step" despite the fact that Bush has spent the last five years telling us that US troops would leave Iraq only when Iraq was stable enough to stand on it's own. People like Barack Obama have always argued that the Iraqis will never do this until they know that they have to because a definite end is in sight for the occupation.

And many Iraqis, who favoured an immediate US withdrawal, are also making a compromise simply to have the US agree to a definite date by which they will have withdrawn.

It also gives some indication of the chasm between John McCain's claims during the recent election and the reality on the ground. Bush has agreed to all the things that we have been told will lead to carnage and "victory for the terrorists".

It's the final proof, were anymore needed, that the Republicans use fear to get people to do what they want. Because Bush is either an appeaser of terrorists, or he knew he was talking bunkum when he made those claims. It's not remotely surprising of course, what is surprising is the amount of people who took his claims at face value and reiterated them as if it was Gospel.

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