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September 19, 2008


John Raymond

This is off topic, but please check out the report by Matthew Yglesias at Think Progress September 23 about withdrawal deadlines in the SOFA being negotiated (he links to a fuller report on this at the end of the piece). It quotes Maliki as saying that he wanted a withdrawal date of 2010 but extended it to 2011 at the Bush administration's request, because Bush wanted to help McCain out by having a date that wasn't so close to what Obama wanted.

I'm curious what you think about this. It could be convenient excuse by Maliki to counter nationalist opposition, but it's also certainly something the Bush administration could have requested.

John Raymond

To follow-up: In Juan Cole today, there's a report by the foreign minister of Iraq saying he didn't think an agreement with the Bush administration was likely and that they would have to go back to the UN. Does this seem likely? What's your read on whether Maliki will actually submit an agreement to Parliament, if it happens? Wouldn't Sistani in particular force him to do so if he tried not to? What's your sense of how long an occupation Parliament would allow under such an agreement? What do you think of Iyad Allawi calling for a referendum on an agreement, as the Sadrists and Sistani did earlier, in June, until Maliki agreed to submit it to Parliament? What, in short, do you think will happen if there's no agreement with Bush?

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