by Ernesto Londono
The Iraqi government announced Monday that it intends to let voters decide
in January whether the departure of U.S. troops should be accelerated.
Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's cabinet is submitting a draft law to
parliament asking it to authorize and fund a referendum on the bilateral
agreement that regulates the presence of U.S. troops, the government
The referendum would be held during January's national election.
U.S. officials have quietly lobbied the Iraqi government to suspend plans to
hold the referendum, because they're all but certain voters would annul the
If that were to happen, U.S. troops would have one year to depart, moving up
their targeted December 2011 withdrawal date by almost a year. . . .
The referendum was supposed to happen in July, . . .
"The U.S. 'Withdraws' From Iraqi
Cities," The Wisdom Fund, July 1, 2009
[At the height of the war, more than 300 bases were scattered across Iraq.
Over the next few months, Americans hope to be at six huge bases--Marc
Santora, "Big U.S. Bases Are Part of Iraq, but a World
Apart," New York Times, September 8, 2009]