Baghdad: Progress has been made regarding negotiations to reach a security agreement between the Iraqi government and the United States.
US negotiators have agreed to the request of Iraqi negotiators to consider the beginning of 2010 as the date to start the withdrawal of US military troops.
"The Americans recently agreed to the scheduled withdrawal and evacuation of US forces from Iraq starting the beginning of 2010 and the Iraqi negotiator was informed of US approval days before, and the debate between the two sides began to focus on the important details of this date," Haidar Al Abadi, a prominent leader of the Shiite coalition told Gulf News.
Mahmoud Othman, a Kurdish leader who is close to Iraqi President Jalal Al Talabani told Gulf News: "My information indicates that there is American approval for the rescheduling of withdrawal from Iraq at the beginning of 2010."
This date will also be the date of the final signing of the Iraqi-American strategy security agreement that will determine the nature of US relations between the two countries at all levels for decades.
We must be alert that the minute details of the strategy convention will be signed by the next American administration, he added.
"After the withdrawal of additional US forces which came to Iraq under President Bush's plan to increase troops with the aim of supporting security in Baghdad, there will be approximately 130,000 US troops," Salim Al Qalaji, a retiree major general in the former Iraqi Army told Gulf News.
But to protect American interests US forces are likely to remain Inside Iraq with perhaps between 15,000 to 25,000 US troops, the time period they stay might not be specified but it will "certainly be a long one, perhaps five or ten years," he added.
Informed military sources in Baghdad revealed to Gulf News that Iraqi and American negotiators are looking to keep American military forces to intervene after the implementation of the scheduled withdrawal and the evacuation of US forces from Iraqi cities in the south, north and centre.
There is a proposal that the stationing of these troops in the Kurdistan Region be linked to the Turkish Ingerlik Air Base, with its mission being to intervene to attack any internal risk threatening the political and security situation in Iraq, these troops would receive support from the Turkish Ingerlik Base in case of unexpected high risk in Baghdad and other governorates of Iraq.