Iraqi Cabinet Supports Withdrawal Date for US Troops
The Times of London and the BBC both reported Sunday that the Iraqi Cabinet has approved a deal that would require US troops to be off the streets of Iraqi towns by the end of next year, and out of the country by 2011.
US officials also support the agreement, which still must pass through the Iraqi parliament before becoming official.
The BBC lays out the points of the deal:
The deal would place US forces in Iraq under the authority of the Iraqi government.
US forces would be required to leave the streets of Iraqi towns by mid-2009.
Control of US military bases in Iraq would be turned over to Iraqi control during the course of 2009.
The deal also removes the right of US forces to raid Iraqi homes without an official order from an Iraqi judge, and approval of the Iraqi government.
The Times quotes Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari as saying, "We think it is a good agreement for Iraq and the United States.â€?
Many groups remain opposed to the measures, however.
Al-Mahdi Army, Iraq's largest Shia militia, wants US troops out immediately, and has threatened renewed attacks on US forces.
Iraq's influential Shia cleric, Moqtada Sadr, opposes any agreement with the US. He has called for mass protests and demonstrations in opposition to the deal.
The BBC also reports there are mixed opinions among Iraqi citizens. Some believe that making any agreements with the US government shames the country. Others trust that the Iraqi cabinet knows what is best for the people, and support the pact.