Maliki Suggests US Troop Timetable - Raghavan and DeYoung, Washington Post
Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has for the first time suggested establishing a timetable for the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq, a step that the Bush administration has long opposed. Maliki raised the idea Monday during a visit to the United Arab Emirates, where he spoke with Arab ambassadors about a security pact being negotiated to determine the future US military role in Iraq.
Iraqi Favors Short Security Pact With US - Sabrina Tavernese, New York Times
Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki publicly confirmed Monday that his government was leaning toward concluding a short-term security pact with the United States instead of a broader agreement that would last for years. The legal authority for American troops in Iraq is now provided by a United Nations mandate that expires at the end of the year. Iraq and the United States have been negotiating details of a broad new agreement that would formalize the security relationship, but with elections nearing in both countries and opposition likely from the Iraqi Parliament, Iraqi leaders seemed to be opting for a narrower and short-term pact.
PM Advocates Withdrawal Timetable - Alexandra Zavis, Los Angeles Times
Bolstered by recent Iraqi military successes, Prime Minister Nouri Maliki proposed Monday that negotiators include a timetable for the departure of US troops in any agreement to continue the American presence in Iraq beyond the end of the year. The suggestion, made during an official visit to the United Arab Emirates, appeared aimed at easing domestic fears that the deal would impinge on Iraqi sovereignty and clear the way for permanent American bases. The Iraqi leader also recognizes that American opinion has turned against the war and believes his country should not wait for a decision to be made in Washington to pull out troops, according to lawmakers from his Islamic Dawa Party.
Iraq Demands Timetable - James Hider, The Times
Iraq said for the first time yesterday that it wanted to set a timetable for the withdrawal of US troops from its territory. President Bush has long resisted a schedule for pulling his 145,000 soldiers out, arguing that it would play into the hands of insurgents. Nouri al-Maliki, the Shia Prime Minister, who boasted last week that he had crushed terrorism in the country, suggested that it was time to start setting time-lines.
Gains in Iraq May Lead to Pullouts - Jim Michaels, USA Today
Security in Iraq continues to improve even after the withdrawal of nearly 25% of US combat brigades, increasing the prospects of further cuts in American forces. Although US commanders are cautious about predicting further withdrawals, interviews with military experts and recent official statements indicate growing optimism about the potential to pull out more forces. "I believe the momentum we have is not reversible," said Jack Keane, a retired Army vice chief of staff who helped develop the Iraq strategy adopted by President Bush in January 2007.
US Not Fixing Date for Iraq Withdrawal - AFP
The White House said today it was not negotiating a "hard date" for a US withdrawal from Iraq despite Baghdad's call for a timetable, but did not rule out "time-frames" discussions with the Iraqi government. Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said for the first time today that Iraq was seeking such a timetable as part of its negotiations with Washington on the status of US forces in Iraq beyond 2008. But White House spokesman Scott Stanzel said the talks were aimed at reaching agreement on a framework for future US-Iraqi relations and on the arrangements that will govern the US military presence.
Mr. Obama on Iraq - Washington Post editorial
Barack Obama has taken a small but important step toward adjusting his outdated position on Iraq to the military and strategic realities of the war he may inherit. Sadly, he seems to be finding that the strident and rigid posture he struck during the primary campaign -- during which he promised to withdraw all combat forces in 16 months -- is inhibiting what looks like a worthy, necessary attempt to create the room for maneuver he will need to capably manage the war if he becomes president. Mr. Obama's shift came when he was asked last week about his withdrawal plan, which he first proposed in late 2006, a time when Iraq appeared to be sliding into a sectarian civil war. Since then, a new U.S. counterinsurgency strategy has helped bring about a dramatic drop in violence, and the Iraqi government has gained control over most of the country.
The Wrong Partnership for Iraq - Delahunt and DeLauro, Washington Post opinion
The June 15 editorial " A Partnership With Iraq" criticized Democrats in Congress for opposing the proposed long-term military agreement between the United States and Iraq that would replace the UN mandate under which US forces are fighting. The editorial called the agreement a way of "countering Iran's attempt to dominate the Middle East." We have examined this issue for many months and believe that The Post's position is badly misguided. First, the editorial failed to recognize congressional obligations, imposed by the Constitution, on governing the use of our armed forces. The Post argued that barring a "formal commitment to defend Iraq from external aggression," congressional approval of the agreement is not required. Yet constitutional scholars testifying before the oversight subcommittee of the House Foreign Affairs Committee have stated that "the authority to fight" that the administration seeks from Iraq does indeed require congressional approval. Requiring international legal approval of combat is what makes this agreement anything but what the administration incorrectly calls it: a "status of forces agreement."