Iraq’s national security adviser said Tuesday his country will not accept any security deal with the U.S. unless it contains specific dates for the withdrawal of U.S.-led forces.
The comments by Mouwaffak al-Rubaie were the strongest yet by an Iraqi official about the deal now under negotiation with U.S. officials. It came a day after Iraq’s prime minister first said publicly that he expects the pending troop deal with the U.S. to have some type of timetable for withdrawal.
First, it appears that Iraq is getting more and more confident that their military and police forces will be able to maintain security. They’re probably not too far off base on that, though there’s still quite a ways to go.
Secondly, the “withdrawal” being discussed here is not a withdrawal from Iraq, just from the major urban areas:
The Iraqi proposal stipulates that, once Iraqi forces have resumed security responsibility in all 18 of Iraq’s provinces, U.S.-led forces would then withdraw from all cities in the country.
After that, the country’s security situation would be reviewed every six months, for three to five years, to decide when U.S.-led troops would pull out entirely, al-Adeeb said.
There is nothing earth-shaking about this. In fact, our troops were already beginning to withdraw a bit from day-to-day city life in 2006. That, of course, is when things began going south in a hurry.
Our long-term plan almost certainly involves our troops from pulling back and providing reaction forces and a deterrent to outside forces. Though we would certainly like to lower the troop level, it’s not going to get too low too soon. Nothing I’m seeing about this latest announcement seems to alter that at all.