Iraq and the United States have formally signed the agreement which will see American forces heading home within three years. Foreign Minister Hoshiyar Zebari and American ambassador Ryan Crocker authorised the deal, putting a firm end-date on US military involvement in Iraq. US troops will stop patrolling towns and villages by next summer, and will leave Iraq completely by the end of 2011.
The pact acknowledges Baghdad’s increasing confidence in handling its own security. Indeed, only five of Iraq’s 18 provinces are still under American control. It also puts the US military under Baghdad’s authority for the first time. The two sides also signed a cooperation agreement, which Washington said would define their relations for years in areas such as trade, culture, science and technology, and energy.