It got lost in the stories about the terrorist attacks in Mumbai, the warm-hearted Thanksgiving pieces and the previews of the frenzied Black Friday crowds, but the approval in the Iraqi parliament of a status of forces agreement between Baghdad and Washington could should have a major impact for tens of thousands of soldiers at Fort Lewis.
American soldiers will withdraw from cities and towns by June 30, 2009 — shortly before the 3rd and 5th Stryker Brigades are set to arrive in Iraq – and all troops will be gone by the start of 2012.
The vote still needs to be approved by the Presidency Council, comprised of President Jalal Talabani and his two deputies.
The United Nations mandate that authorized the American presence in Iraq was set to expire at the end of the year. If an agreement between Washington and Baghdad didn’t pass, it would’ve paralyzed the ability of coalition troops to perform daily tasks.
Thanks to our folks in the McClatchy Baghdad bureau, you can read the entire text of the agreement in English here.