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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Iraq Wants a Firm Date for Withdrawal

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has made it 100% crystal clear in recent days that they want a firm date for the withdrawal of American forces by 2011 (not "aspirational time horizons" or any other similar bullcrap).

"There can be no treaty or agreement except on the basis of Iraq's full sovereignty," al-Maliki told a gathering of Shiite tribal sheiks. He said any agreement must be based on the principle that "no foreign soldier remains in Iraq after a specific deadline, not an open time frame."

Al-Maliki said the U.S. and Iraq had already agreed on a full withdrawal of all foreign troops by the end of 2011 — an interpretation that the White House challenged. Until then, the U.S. could not conduct military operations "without the approval" of the Iraqi government, al-Maliki said.

This of course vindicates Obama's call for a firm timetable and eviscerates McCain's stubborn rhetoric on the issue. As Yglesias puts it:
Progressives think the United States should set a timeline for withdrawal from Iraq. Iraqi politicians uniformly want this. And the Iraqi public is overwhelmingly on board. But conservative analysts have been labeling this policy irresponsible forever. How do they react?

Remember what McCain said in 2004?
Question: "What would or should we do if, in the post-June 30th period, a so-called sovereign Iraqi government asks us to leave, even if we are unhappy about the security situation there?"

McCain's Answer: "Well, if that scenario evolves than I think it's obvious that we would have to leave because -- if it was an elected government of Iraq, and we've been asked to leave other places in the world. If it were an extremist government then I think we would have other challenges, but I don't see how we could stay when our whole emphasis and policy has been based on turning the Iraqi government over to the Iraqi people."

Pretty clear, isn't it? A democratically elected Iraqi government wants us out by 2011.


Game, set, match.