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kmitchell

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: November 09, 2008, 02:17:50 PM

http://www.iraqupdates.com/p_articles.php/article/39458


We gave them democracy, and to prove that we are liberators, and not conquerors, we must listen to the people of Iraq. If we stay despite their requests for us to leave, we have no credibility as the "good guys". Bring our soldiers home Obama!

A senior Iraqi official on Thursday explicitly backed U.S. President-elect Barack Obama's plans to withdraw combat troops from the country by mid-2010, Baghdad's clearest endorsement yet of Obama's exit strategy.

The outgoing administration of President George W. Bush presented Iraq with a "final text" of a pact accepting Baghdad's demand that troops leave in three years, but Baghdad said it wanted more talks on questions that were still unresolved.

Asked to comment on Obama's pledge to pull combat troops out within 16 months of taking office, National Security Adviser Mowaffaq al-Rubaie told Al-Arabiya television: "We think 16 months is good."

Iraqi officials were reluctant to publicly endorse Obama's plan while the campaign was under way. Obama's opponent John McCain -- and the Bush administration -- opposed setting a timeline, although the administration relented in recent months.

"Obama's presence at the head of the U.S. administration will give new blood, new thoughts and new plans. We want to be in a fundamental alliance with the United States," Rubaie said.

The Bush administration has agreed to a 2011 withdrawal date in a draft security pact which would replace a U.N. mandate that expires at the end of this year.

The pact was held up last month when Baghdad asked for last-minute changes, and Washington delivered its reply on Thursday, declaring the negotiations over.

"We've gotten back to them with a final text. Through this step we have completed the process on the U.S. side," U.S. embassy spokeswoman Susan Ziadeh said. "Iraq will now need to take it forward through their own process."


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