Fox News is reporting that the Obama administration plans to withdraw all but about 3,000 of the more than 40,000 U.S. troops currently in Iraq, a move that is consistent with President Barack Obama’s repeated promises to end the war in Iraq. Sources told Fox that the number of troops begrudgingly approved by the military — 10,000 troops — would be cut even further, likely allowing the U.S. to carry out mostly training missions.
The reported decision comes after months of fruitless back-and-forth with the Iraqi government on an agreement to allow American troops to stay. A Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) negotiated by the outgoing Bush administration in 2008 pledged to the Iraqis that the U.S. would withdraw all of its troops by the end of 2011. Without a new SOFA, all U.S. troops might still have to exit Iraq, potentially rendering the U.S. decision moot.
A ray of good news in all the gloom. Best news in my opinion? If all troops have to exit. Next up: exit Afghanistan.