Daily Archives: November 17, 2008

Gideon Rachman

Well, Obama has finally got some good news. The bilateral agreement between the US and Iraq sets the course for full withdrawal of American troops by the end of 2011. Although the pace of withdrawal is a little slower than the one Obama talked about on the campaign trail, it sounds like a deal he can live with.

Much of the early comment has focussed on whether the various Iraqi parties will be able to unite around the deal and make it stick – and whether the military situation will be stable enough in three years time to allow for a full withdrawal. But the thing that strikes me most forcibly is that the deal means that the US is finally letting go of any ideas of retaining permanent military bases in Iraq.