The agreement sets June 30, 2009, as the deadline for U.S. troops to withdraw from all Iraqi cities and towns, Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said.
The date for all troops to leave Iraq will be December 31, 2011, he said.
These dates are "set and fixed" and are "not subject to the circumstances on the ground," he said.
It has yet to be voted on in the Iraqi Parliament:
The decision of the 37-member cabinet, essentially a microcosm of the Parliament, is expected to be a good indicator of whether the agreement will pass. The assembly has not yet announced the date of its vote, but it is scheduled to go into recess on Nov. 24.
The draft approved Sunday requires coalition forces to withdraw from Iraqi cities and towns by the summer of 2009 and from the country by the end of 2011. An earlier version had language giving some flexibility to that deadline, with both sides discussing timetables and timelines for withdrawal, but the Iraqis managed to have the deadline set in stone, a significant negotiating victory. The United States has around 150,000 troops in Iraq.
This timeline pretty much mirrors Barack Obama's statements concerning the direction he had hoped to take the occupation during the presidential campaign. Though, Obama had stated that his policy would have been contingent to conditions on the ground - something that the Iraqis, obviously, disagree with.
The reality is that as we get closer to pulling out there is a huge potential for all hell to break loose. But it would be the same problem five, ten or even fifteen years from now. No matter when the power vacuum presents itself there will be, very likely, a power struggle to fill that vacuum by the Iraqis. We can only hope that they struggle for that power through political means and not with bullets and bombs.
Most of the people of Iraq that are still standing after the illegal invasion and occupation have already seen enough of the bullets and bombs through no fault of their own.