iraq and US officials are close to finalizing an agreement under which virtually all American forces would be out of Iraq by June, 2009. Under the proposed plan, the US by the end of 2008 would turn over parts of Baghdad’s Green Zone to Iraqi forces and would leave all Iraqi cities by mid point in 2009. Some US personnel would remain for a few more years but by 2013 all would be out of the country. The acceptance by President Bush of a timetable which he has fought tooth and nail to avoid represents a dramatic change of view on the part of the administration. The Iraqi government insists on a timetable and will not back down on this point.
However, a source of conflict still revolves around the issue of whether US troops would have immunity against being prosecuted in Iraq courts. The American government appears adamant they will not give in on this point. Iraqi officials are willing to grant immunity for anything event that happens during a combat mission or takes place on a military base, but insist Iraqi law should be the one followed in all other situations. Secretary of State Rice has had some angry conversations with Iraqi officials on the issue of immunity.
The proposed agreement represents good and bad news for John McCain. He urged the surge, but he also has opposed establishing a timetable and challenged his opponent Barack Obama with being naive for supporting such action.