Tuesday, December 02, 2008

What's Going On In Iraq?

Apropos of that last entry, here's the current status of the war...

AFP: Iraqi parliament approves landmark US military pact
Iraq's parliament on Thursday approved a landmark military pact that will see all US troops withdraw by the end of 2011, eight years after the invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein and plunged the country into chaos...

..."We have achieved one of our most important accomplishments by signing an agreement for the withdrawal of foreign forces from Iraq, and restoring the sovereignty that we lost more than two decades ago," [Prime Minister Maliki] said...

...The measure would govern some 150,000 US troops stationed in over 400 bases when their UN mandate expires at the end of the year, giving the Iraqi government veto power over virtually all of their operations.

It marks a coming-of-age for Maliki's government, which drove a hard bargain with Washington, securing a number of concessions over nearly a year of tough negotiations...

The international agreement will be binding on US president-elect Barack Obama when he assumes office next year, but he could also unilaterally cancel the pact with a year's notice or withdraw all US troops at any time.

This agreement is a huge blessing for both George W. Bush and Barack Obama. For Bush, it allows the war to (theoretically) end not long after his departure from office, but under peaceful circumstances-- read: not evacuations by helicopters from embassy roofs-- that allow him to point to a democratic decision made by the Iraqi government which rejects the more long-term goals Bush had for the region. For incoming-Prez Obama, it allows him to keep his campaign promise to withdraw combat forces from Iraq on a timetable close enough to the one he proposed, without angering right-wingers by looking like he was forcing Iraq's hand. Everybody's a winner?

Well not really, because until this all plays out, this is still happening-
[M]oments before the vote, two people were killed and more than two dozen wounded in separate suicide bombings in northern Iraq targeting local security forces, underscoring the lingering violence in the country.

In the bloodiest attack, south of the city of Mosul, a suicide car bomb rammed into a police patrol, killing two civilians and wounding 25 others, including 15 policemen, police said.

So no counting chickens before they're hatched yet.

(Oh, and there's still that whole Afghanistan/Pakistan mess to figure out, but that's a whole separate issue.)

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