Iraq official demands specific dates for US military withdrawal

Iraq’s national security adviser, Mouwaffak al-Rubaie, said Tuesday, July 8, his government will not accept the security accord under negotiation with the United States unless it contains specific dates for the withdrawal of U.S.-led forces.
debkafile reports: President George W. Bush has consistently opposed any such timetable, as has the Republican presidential nominee John McCain. His Democratic rival, Barack Obama, once pledged withdrawal within 14 months if he were elected to the White House, but has since changed his position on the Iraq War and the US military role there.
debkafile‘s Gulf sources stress that al Rubaie’s demand is consistent with Tehran’s position that the sooner US troops quit Iraq the faster its problems will be solved. Iran’s leaders will undoubtedly view the Iraqi official’s demand as major achievement.
Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki’s statement a day earlier was less specific than the security adviser’s: He said he expects the pending troop deal with the United States to have “some type of timetable for withdrawal.”
The White House responded that Maliki did not appear to be proposing a “rigid timetable.”
In the light of the ongoing secret dialogue between Washington and Tehran, revealed by debkafile, which dates from their covert cooperation over the Iraqi government operation against rogue militias in Basra five months ago, the White House may well accept a compromise, whereby Washington will consider withdrawing its forces from Iraq according to an agreed timeline, given the right conditions on the ground. This issue is likely to be settled at the Washington-

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