"Our stance in the negotiations underway with the American side will be strong ... We will not accept any memorandum of understanding that doesn't have specific dates to withdraw foreign forces from Iraq," al-Rubaie said.As long as the Iraqis can maintain security, this provides a means to definitively end the conflict in Iraq without having a U.S. pull-out being decided arbitrarily by the American politicians. Also, if security and stability is maintained by the Iraqis, then it will be very hard to label the outcome as anything but a win.
Some type of agreement between the United States and Iraq is needed to keep U.S. troops in Iraq after a U.N. mandate expires at year's end.
Iraq's government has felt increasingly confident in recent weeks about its authority and the country's improved stability, and Iraqi officials have sharpened their public stance in the negotiations considerably in just the last few days.
Violence in Iraq has fallen to its lowest level in four years. The change has been driven by the 2007 buildup of American forces, the Sunni tribal revolt against Al Qaeda in Iraq and crackdowns against Shiite militias and Sunni extremists.
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