By Gareth Porter
"The final draft of the US-Iraq Status of Forces agreement on the US military presence represents an even more crushing defeat for the policy of the George W. Bush administration than previously thought, the final text reveals.
The final draft, dated Oct. 13, not only imposes unambiguous deadlines for withdrawal of US combat troops by 2011 but makes it extremely unlikely that a US non-combat presence will be allowed to remain in Iraq for training and support purposes beyond the 2011 deadline for withdrawal of all US combat forces.
Furthermore, Shiite opposition to the pact as a violation of Iraqi sovereignty makes the prospects for passage of even this agreement by the Iraqi parliament doubtful. Pro-government Shiite parties, the top Shiite clerical body in the country, and a powerful movement led by nationalist cleric Moqtada al-Sadr that recently mobilized hundreds of thousands of demonstrators in protest against the pact, are all calling for its defeat.....
The collapse of the Bush administration's ambitious plan for a long-term US presence in Iraq highlights the degree of unreality that has prevailed among top US officials in both Washington and Baghdad on Iraqi politics. They continued to see the Maliki regime as a client which would cooperate with US aims even after it was clear that Maliki's agenda was sharply at odds with that of the United States.
They also refused to take seriously the opposition to such a presence even among the Shiite clerics who had tolerated it in order to obtain Shiite control over state power."