"The failure of months of negotiations over the more detailed accord — blamed on both the Iraqi refusal to accept U.S. terms and the complexity of the task — deals a blow to the Bush administration’s plans to leave in place a formal military architecture in Iraq that could last for years.
Although President Bush has repeatedly rejected calls for a troop withdrawal timeline, "we are talking about dates," acknowledged one U.S. official close to the negotiations. Iraqi political leaders "are all telling us the same thing. They need something like this in there. . . . Iraqis want to know that foreign troops are not going to be here forever." " Washpost
It was predictable that the hubris of the Bush Administration belief that it had acquired a NATO-like position with regard to the "new Iraq" would prove to be both false and dangerous.
Whatever the terms of the temporary agreements that will be agreed on between Baghdad and Washington, those agreements will not be a solid basis for an indefinite US occupation of Iraq.
Future Iraqi governments will be able to repudiate them to demand withdrawal and true independence. A future US president will be able to cite them as justification for a reduction in US forces leading to the sort of relationship that the US has with Jordan and Egypt.
The Iraqi negotiators, whatever their motivations, have served both Iraq and the US well. pl