Iraqi Factions Seek Timetable for U.S. Pullout

Published: November 22, 2005

CAIRO, Nov. 21 - For the first time, Iraq's political factions on Monday collectively called for a timetable for withdrawal of foreign forces, in a moment of consensus that comes as the Bush administration battles pressure at home to commit itself to a pullout schedule.

The announcement, made at the conclusion of a reconciliation conference here backed by the Arab League, was a public reaching out by Shiites, who now dominate Iraq's government, to Sunni Arabs on the eve of parliamentary elections that have been put on shaky ground by weeks of sectarian violence.

About 100 Sunni, Shiite and Kurdish leaders, many of whom will run in the election on Dec. 15, signed a closing memorandum on Monday that "demands a withdrawal of foreign troops on a specified timetable, dependent on an immediate national program for rebuilding the security forces," the statement said.

"The Iraqi people are looking forward to the day when foreign forces will leave Iraq, when its armed and security forces will be rebuilt and when they can enjoy peace and stability and an end to terrorism," it continued.

The meeting was intended as preparation for a much larger conference in Iraq in late February. The recommendations made here are to be the starting ground for that meeting.

(--WHAT? They must be a bunch of cut-and-run Democrat Liberal Cowardly Communist Terrorists. HOW DARE THEY act as if it's THEIR country?)

In Washington, Justin Higgins, a State Department spokesman, said, "The United States supports the basic foundation of the conference and we certainly support ongoing discussion among Iraq's various political and religious communities."

But regarding troop withdrawal, he said: "Multinational forces are present in Iraq under a mandate from the U.N. Security Council. As President Bush has said, the coalition remains committed to helping the Iraqi people achieve security and stability as they rebuild their country. We will stay as long as it takes to achieve those goals and no longer.""

(--In other words -- shut the fuck up and stop acting like it's a REAL democracy over there. We're going to HELP YOU until WE DECIDE you're good enough to run the region you've been handling for better or worse for the last 4000+ years.)


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