NYT: Draft Accord With Iraq Sets Goal of 2011 Pullout
I cannot fully write about this yet because of the fact that the agreement has not been released, and I don’t know if the full treaty will every fully be released. However: details will continue to come in, and as they do, I will write new articles.
A good plan
United States and Iraqi negotiators have been haggling over a Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) for several months now. Up until now, the international military presence in Iraq has been legitimized by United Nations Security Council Resolutions. This new agreement will last three years and its main points are this:
1. U.S. troops must move outside of cities by June 30, 2009
2. Withdrawal of all U.S. combat forces by the end of December 31, 2011
3. No immunity for private contractors
4. Some immunity for American soldiers (immunity if on base or on duty)
5. A failsafe in case Iraq collapses
This plan is much better than either plan submitted by the two presidential contenders: McCain would stay too long (forever), Obama too short (16 months). This plan does not have the drawbacks of either.
Michael Cohen over at Democracy Arsenal and in the WSJ today argues that no immunity for private contractors will impede on their ability to do their duty properly in Iraq. That is not true for at least two reasons:
1. Any private contractors put on trial that didn’t really do anything wrong will not be convicted; U.S. pressure will assure to that.
2. Because the Iraqi government was so strong about putting this resolution in the agreement, the government gains legitimacy among the Iraqi people. Maliki, in particular, looks extra-nationalist and therefore extra popular.
I’ve noticed a lack of discussion about Iran on this. I’m waiting to see Iran’s reaction to this (and consequently the reaction of Muqtada al-Sadr). I'll keep y'all posted.
On the Sunni Awakening
The NYT is also reporting that the Shiite-led Iraqi government is refusing to incorporate the 100,000 strong Sunni Awakening – Sunnis paid by the U.S. to take up arms against Al-Qaeda and other insurgents. It is vital that the al-Maliki government incorporates the Sunnis into the government. It is impossible to state the importance of this enough. If they are not incorporated, I fear a resumption of the civil war and a strengthening of the insurgency.