What are the terms of withdrawal from Iraq?

I have not been able to find anything but the briefest description of the terms of American withdrawal that are being presented to the Iraqi parliament. Apparently it involves the removal of U.S. troops from cities and towns by next summer. I presume they will retire to the bases in Iraq. A couple of years after that there apparently will be a complete withdrawal. This all subject to conditions that are unclear to me.

By all reports there has been a frenzied effort by th U.S. to get withdrawal terms approved by Iraq. I’m not clear why this u-turn in American policy occurred. It apparently has more to do with an attempt to create a positive legacy for Bush, as its impact on the election appears to be ambiguous. McCain claims that it proves that the surge worked and Obama would have sacrificed victory in Iraq and Obama notes that the withdrawal is very close to what he has been advocating all along.

I guess that McCain is claiming that we won. His claim of victory in Iraq seems to me very much like Bush’s “mission accomplished” celebration some years ago.

But why are the details of this being kept from the American public? If this is not being kept from us, it at least is not readily accessible.

Here are a few questions in my mind. Are we abandoning the bases in Iraq? Bush was absolutely against this and Obama stridently for it. I believe that this is a significant question insofar as it was the bases in Saudi Arabia were a cause of anti-American sentiment in the region and a motivating factor for Al Qaeda’s activity.

What are the conditions for withdrawal? As every contract lawyer knows an agreement’s conditions can render an agreement virtually meaningless or so ambiguous as to be unenforceable or enforceable at will.

In my mind the accord in Iraq is bigger than whatever effect it has on politics here. I’d like to know what is going on.


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