The US and Iraq are close to clinching a new security agreement which would include a targeted 2011 date for troop withdrawal—and a provision to allow US troops to be prosecuted in Iraqi courts. The US military has enjoyed blanket immunity from criminal prosecution, but under the new agreement soldiers who commit serious crimes such as murder and rape off duty would lose that immunity, reports the Wall Street Journal.
US resistance to the prosecution provision has been a major sticking point in the negotiations. The draft agreement includes a US troop withdrawal goal at the end of 2011. American soldiers would first pull out of Iraq's cities by the end of June 2009 to bases outside urban areas. That process has already begun in many parts of Iraq.