Sunday, November 16, 2008

Deadline Passed For Iraq Withdrawl

The Iraqi governing cabinet approved a pact that will allow US forces to stay in the middle east nation for an additional 3 years.

This pact will replace a UN Security Council mandate which expires on December 31st.

The pact not only puts the approximately 150,000 US Troops under Iraqi authority but sets a permanent withdrawl date of December 31st, 2011.

"The total withdrawal will be completed by December 31, 2011. This is not governed by circumstances on the ground. This date is specific and final," cabinet spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said.

The pact follows years of domestic debate over a deadline for troop withdrawl.

It may have made for an interesting campaign debate had this happened sooner, but it's good to see President Bush trying to finish what he started. Though he has been against a timetable, the President worked to establish democracy and peace and eliminate Iraq's penchant for harboring terrorists -- a goal likely to be reached during the next 3 years.

"We remain hopeful and confident we'll soon have an agreement that sends a signal to the region and the world that both our governments are committed to a stable, secure and democratic Iraq," White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe said.

Violence has dropped significantly over the last year and October saw the lowest monthly death toll from violence since the invasion, according to Iraqi government statistics.

Not all of Iraq is pleased with the deal, however, namely radical anti-American Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr .

"It is a deeply regrettable and sorrowful thing," Ahmed al-Masoudy, spokesman for Sadr's bloc in parliament, said. "We are calling upon the Iraqi people to stage demonstrations and sit-ins to stop this farce."

al-Sadr describes it as "disgrace and ignominy" and adds it "puts Iraq and its people up for sale.

The not-so humble cleric wants an immediate withdrawl. President-Elect Obama's plan calls for all combat troops to be withdrawn by the middle of 2010.

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