Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Talking about troop levels

On Monday, the agreement was struck between the United States and Iraq that the U.N. mandated occupation of that beleaguered nation should end in December 2008, and that any continued troop presence beyond that time be subject to negotiations between the two governments that will take place in the upcoming summer months. The agreement was signed by both Maliki and Bush in a teleconference on Monday.

In Iraq, Maliki will be able to spin it as Iraq beginning to show a modicum of independence, while in Washington, Gordon Johndroe, spokesman for the NSC, waved off the development, saying he was confident that an agreement would be reached that would authorize continuing the American occupation.

The agreement signed yesterday could potentially set some limits on American troop levels and in what capacity the American military could operate inside Iraq.

Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said Iraqi officials will use the new agreement to set the number of U.S. troops that will remain in the country and their mission. He described the U.S.-Iraq military relationship as "very bumpy over the last three to four years."

Zebari said the new negotiations will provide benefits for both countries.

For Iraq, he said, "it means a clear definition of the relationship and also some security guarantees that the U.S. will protect the political system and constitution until we build our forces and troops.

For the U.S., he said, "it will be a way to do the drawdown and troop reduction and to relieve the pressure back home."

I'm not overly optimistic that this actually, you know, means anything.

Everyone knows that the Maliki government is going to negotiate the deal that aWol will demand. His government is a U.S. backed puppet regime, and it would not exist without the U.S. military presence. He may not be happy about the American military in his country, but he has already done the exile bit and will play along to avoid either exile or assassination. And I am cynical enough to believe that the deal the petulant [p]resident negotiates will be contingent on who the nominees are and who is polling ahead.

[That's all, folks...]