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Top US Commander Wants Troops Out of Iraq Pronto

(Newser) - The US should get out of Iraq sooner rather than later, a top Army officer wrote in a recent memo obtained by the Washington Independent. Col. Timothy Reese, the chief of the Baghdad Operations Command Advisory Team, says American forces “smell bad to the Iraqi nose,” and their... More »

US Agrees to Leave Iraq in 2011

Bilateral pact, which gives Iraq control over troops, must be approved by parliament

(Newser) - Iraq's government could soon be in charge of US troops for the first time, a prelude to their full withdrawal by 2011 under a deal now awaiting approval by Iraqi politicians, Reuters reports. The deal sets a firm timeline, and lets the Arab nation prosecute American soldiers for some serious... More »

Rice Arrives in Baghdad for Troop Deal Talks

In surprise visit, secretary seeks new mandate for US military

(Newser) - Condoleezza Rice has arrived in Iraq on an unannounced trip, where she will meet with PM Nouri al-Maliki and other top officials to continue talks to keep American troops in the country after their UN mandate expires. While sources in both the US and Iraq have said that an agreement... More »

Sadr Offers to Trade Militia for Set Timetable

Already disbanding Mahdi Army, cleric wants firm US deal

(Newser) - Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr ordered most of his Mahdi Army to disband today, and offered to completely dismantle it once the US agrees to a withdrawal timetable, Time reports. “The main reason for the armed resistance is the American military presence,” said a Sadr spokesman. “If the... More »

Deal Would Set Oct. 2010 for US Pullout: Iraqi Official

Legal immunity for troops remains stumbling block in talks

(Newser) - Significant progress has been made on the security agreement being negotiated between Iraq and the US, the AP reports, with two Iraqi officials saying that the deal sets October 2010 as the deadline for a near-complete withdrawal. Legal immunity for troops remains an issue, and contributed to a “very... More »

Sadr to Forge Peaceful Corps from Shiite Army

Mahdi militants said to shift focus to civil service, stabilizing Iraq

(Newser) - Anti-American Iraqi cleric Muqtada al-Sadr is shifting his political clout away from militancy, and will disarm his Shiite Mahdi Army in favor of non-violent civic and social endeavors, the Wall Street Journal reports. Hoping to increase stability in Iraq, the organization will take on projects involving education, religion, and social... More »

US, Iraq Inch Closer to Pact

'Time horizon' greases wheels in negotiation

(Newser) - The Bush administration has made serious strides in its efforts to forge a security pact with Iraq, the Wall Street Journal reports. Just a month ago Nouri al-Maliki said talks had hit a “dead end,” but now that Bush has agreed to set up a flexible withdrawal timetable,... More »

Mac: Maliki's 'Pretty Good Timetable' Beats Obama's

Blogosphere up in arms at candidate's parsing of Iraq plans—both for 16 months

(Newser) - In an interview with CNN today, John McCain called Nouri al-Maliki’s troop withdrawal plan a “pretty good timetable”—leading Josh Marshall, on Talking Points Memo, to call foul. So “Barack Obama's 16 month timetable is a catastrophe,” Marshall says, the difference being that the Iraqi... More »

Bush Hand: Maliki Nod 'Incredibly Damaging' to Mac

Iraqi PM's virtual endorsement of Obama plan may be 'game-changing event'

(Newser) - President Bush’s former communications director is decidedly off GOP message in a new interview, Politico reports, with Dan Bartlett, now in the private sector, saying, “Time will tell, but the al-Maliki comments about a timetable is very close to a game-changing event. That was incredibly damaging [to McCain],... More »

Maliki Pegs Obama as the Most Pliant: Krauthammer

Iraq PM thinks Dem can be manipulated, writes Krauthammer

(Newser) - Nouri al-Maliki's endorsement of Barack Obama's timetable for withdrawal from Iraq this week was "the earliest and most ostentatious absentee ballot of this presidential election," writes Charles Krauthammer. The Washington Post columnist thinks that the Iraqi PM gave Obama an electorial assist for a clear reason: between him... More »

Iraq Sands Shifting Under McCain Position

Move by Bush, Maliki toward timetable is 'devastating blow'

(Newser) - Republican presidential candidate John McCain is stuck in an awkward position after both President Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki moved closer to a withdrawal timetable favored by Barack Obama, Politico notes. McCain has opposed such a measure, but in 2004 asserted that if a sovereign Iraqi government asked... More »

US, Iraq Agree to Set 'Time Horizon' for Troop Cuts

Security deal may include 'aspirational goals' for withdrawal

(Newser) - George Bush and Nouri al-Maliki have agreed that a security pact should include a general, non-binding “time horizon” for troop withdrawals from Iraq, the White House said today. The leaders agreed to lay down “aspirational goals” based on improving ground conditions, Reuters reports, striking a compromise between the... More »

'Foolish Consistency' Mars Obama Iraq Plan

He must be more flexible on his withdrawal strategy

(Newser) - The editors of the Washington Post are rankled that Barack Obama has the same position on exiting Iraq now—“with bloodshed at its lowest level since the war began”—as he did a year ago, “at the war’s peak.” His "iron timetable" of a... More »

Emboldened Iraq Stands Up to Washington

Maliki's demand for US withdrawal the latest sign of new confidence

(Newser) - Nouri al-Maliki and the Iraqi government are now openly demanding a timetable for the withdrawal of American forces, reports the New York Times. While nobody expects Baghdad to boot American troops, several military victories and greater political stability have emboldened Maliki, and the increasingly loud demands reflect a new confidence... More »

Iraq Minister Demands Exit Timetable

Foreign minister Rubaie won't accept a US security deal without one

(Newser) - Iraq won’t accept any security deal that doesn’t include strict guidelines for a US withdrawal, National Security Adviser Mouwaffak al-Rubaie said today. The US waved off similar statements from Nouri al-Maliki yesterday, saying they didn’t believe the Iraqi PM really wanted a timetable, but Rubaie’s comments... More »

Timetable Needed to End 'Foreign Presence' in Iraq: PM

'Specific time' for withdrawal must be part of new security deal, Maliki says

(Newser) - Iraq is ready to be rid of US troops, its prime minister said today, and he wants a timetable. “We are looking at the necessity of terminating the foreign presence on Iraqi lands and restoring full sovereignty,” Nouri al-Maliki told Arab diplomats, saying the “memorandum of understanding”... More »

McCain Sees Troops out of Iraq by 2013

Senator envisions winning war in first term in text of speech

(Newser) - John McCain thinks he can end the Iraq war and bring most troops home within his first term as president, he says in the text of a speech, obtained by the Los Angeles Times, to be delivered this morning. McCain’s doesn't acknowledge a policy change, but includes a list... More »

Dems Willing to Deal on Troop Pullout

They're easing off deadline after some surge progress

(Newser) - Senate Democrats are signaling they are willing to compromise with Republicans on a timetable for withdrawing troops from Iraq. The Democrats, who pushed before the summer recess for a pullout deadline next spring, have been undercut by some progress in Iraq and the success of the White House in maintaining... More »

Dems Ditch Iraq Timeline Demand

New war spending bill won't include much-ballyhooed provision

(Newser) - Democratic leaders have quietly abandoned a cornerstone of their Iraq war platform: a timeline for withdrawal. Racing to pass a spending bill before the Memorial Day recess, they don't have the votes to pass a timeline, the LA Times reports, and they risk fallout for failing to fund troops in... More »

Senate Votes Down Iraq Withdrawal

Proposal would have ended funding by March

(Newser) - The Senate yesterday shot down a plan to cut all funding for the war in Iraq by next March. Russ Feingold's proposal, largely a test of anti-war support, was defeated in a 67-29 procedural vote, as Congress moves towards compromise with the White House on a spending measure. More »

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