Robert Stein 1924-2014

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Friday, November 07, 2008

Iraq End Game

The bargaining in Baghdad is getting serious as Iraqis pressure the Bush Administration for last-minute concessions on a status-of-forces agreement to sanction US presence beyond the end of the year.

But the American election and Bush's imminent departure have changed the game. Gone is the McCain mantra of "victory with honor," a prescription for open-ended American presence, and what's left is only haggling over details about the pace of troop withdrawal and how much control Iraqis will assume over security efforts in the meantime.

Iraqi leaders, while openly welcoming Barack Obama's timetable, are losing the luxury of factional jockeying in their own parliament and facing a timetable to resolve Shiite-Sunni differences about the future of their country.

The only questions left are when and how, not if, the loss of American lives and the expenditure of $10 billion a month finally come to an end.

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