The deadline for an Iraqi referendum on the security agreement with the US passed July 30 with a few deadly bombings but no vote. The government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has proposed scheduling the referendum for Jan. 15, 2010, to coincide with parliamentary elections. (Seattle Times, July 31)
According to one colonel’s internal memo, penned in July and obtained by the New York Times, the US should withdraw combat forces from Iraq by August 2010. “As the old saying goes, ‘Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days,'” wrote Col. Timothy R. Reese, an adviser to Iraqi forces in Baghdad. “Since the signing of the 2009 Security Agreement, we are guests in Iraq, and after six years in Iraq, we now smell bad to the Iraqi nose.” (Wired, July 30)
Under the security pact, known as the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA), signed in November by the Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari and the then US ambassador Ryan Crocker, US troops were to withdraw from Iraq’s urban areas by the end of June 2009 and from the country altogether by the end of 2011. The US still has over 130,000 troops in Iraq, and estimated 132,000 military contractors, including around 36,000 American citizens. (Press TV, July 16)
See our last post on Iraq.