"Iraqi unity and security are the ingredients for the start of an American military withdrawal, U.S. officials say. The U.S. commander in the country, General George Casey, wouldn’t specify yesterday when a pullout of the 133,000 troops might begin, only that his “general timeline” is intact." Bloomberg
Translation: A withdrawal of American forces, even if only partial, is conditioned;
1- on the ability of the new government to hold together in the face of the centrifugal social forces tending to tear the country apart
2- On a rapid diminution of the violence (insurgent and inter-communal as the administration wants to see it) that afflicts Iraq.
The Bush Administration desperately wants to get most American troops out of the country starting this Summer. They can read the poll numbers in the US which virtually forecast a "bad patch" for the Republican Party both this Autumn and also in the next presidential election.
Unfortunately for them the time has passed in which they could control the actions of the government which they have gone to so much trouble to create. They insist that it is sovereign and it increasingly sees itself as sovereign whether or not it can maintain its unity and whether or not it can control the country’s territory.
In other words, the fate of the Bush Administration’s policy in Iraq is now in the hands of; a group of grasping and fractious 3rd World politicians, various private armies belonging to sectarian groups and leaders, the emerging armed forces of a fledgling state and the will to fight of various Sunni insurgent groups.
The people who now have the least control over Iraq’s future are we Americans.
Let us all hope that the Iraqis believe that "they must all hang together or they will surely all hang separately."