Target date of July for completion of Iraq-US Troop Deal

There have been some indications (and wild rumors) that this deal is hung up because the US wants so many bases in Iraq after the original deployment is over. This is a misunderstanding of what the treaty is for; it authorizes US presence in the country for a set number of years. As such, for the forseeable future, US troops will still need several dozen places from which to deploy to assist the Iraqi army.

It is extremely unlikely - as some reports have it today - that the US is seeking 58 permanenet bases in Iraq. That number may eventually be 3. But it goes to show you what a little propoganda can do to negotiations:

The deadline for the deal is July:

We're confident it can be achieved, and by the end of July deadline," David Satterfield told reporters in Baghdad's U.S.-guarded Green Zone.



The pact also would provide a legal basis for keeping American troops in Iraq after the U.N. mandate expires at the end of the year.

But tempering the optimism were recent reports in Iraq and Washington that the talks had stalled because of stiff Iraqi opposition, and it would not be finished before President Bush leaves office.

A senior Bush administration official close to the talks told The Associated Press on Monday that it was "very possible" the U.S. may have to extend the existing United Nations mandate.

Iran also has lashed out at the agreement, suggesting that if permanent U.S. military bases are established on Iraqi soil, the country could be used as a launching pad for attacks on the neighboring country.

Satterfield disputed that Tuesday, saying Washington "does not think Iraq should be an arena, a platform for attacks on other states."

"We want to see Iraqi sovereignty strengthened, not weakened," Satterfield told reporters.

The Shias are worried about the Iranian reaction as well as their own domestic opposition. But in the end, it is expected that both parties will be able to get a deal satisfactory to Iraq's leadership and the necessity of maintaining a strong presence in Iraq.
There have been some indications (and wild rumors) that this deal is hung up because the US wants so many bases in Iraq after the original deployment is over. This is a misunderstanding of what the treaty is for; it authorizes US presence in the country for a set number of years. As such, for the forseeable future, US troops will still need several dozen places from which to deploy to assist the Iraqi army.

It is extremely unlikely - as some reports have it today - that the US is seeking 58 permanenet bases in Iraq. That number may eventually be 3. But it goes to show you what a little propoganda can do to negotiations:

The deadline for the deal is July:

We're confident it can be achieved, and by the end of July deadline," David Satterfield told reporters in Baghdad's U.S.-guarded Green Zone.



The pact also would provide a legal basis for keeping American troops in Iraq after the U.N. mandate expires at the end of the year.

But tempering the optimism were recent reports in Iraq and Washington that the talks had stalled because of stiff Iraqi opposition, and it would not be finished before President Bush leaves office.

A senior Bush administration official close to the talks told The Associated Press on Monday that it was "very possible" the U.S. may have to extend the existing United Nations mandate.

Iran also has lashed out at the agreement, suggesting that if permanent U.S. military bases are established on Iraqi soil, the country could be used as a launching pad for attacks on the neighboring country.

Satterfield disputed that Tuesday, saying Washington "does not think Iraq should be an arena, a platform for attacks on other states."

"We want to see Iraqi sovereignty strengthened, not weakened," Satterfield told reporters.

The Shias are worried about the Iranian reaction as well as their own domestic opposition. But in the end, it is expected that both parties will be able to get a deal satisfactory to Iraq's leadership and the necessity of maintaining a strong presence in Iraq.