President Obama, and spokesmen for his administration, are claiming that the withdrawal from Iraq is all going according to plan. Josh Rogin punctures that claim in a must-read report that details how the administration tried to negotiate an agreement for troops to stay in Iraq longer, and sheds light on why they failed.
Meanwhile, Eli Lake reports on the military trainers and contractors who will be sticking around in Iraq. Fred Kagan makes the case that “[t]his retreat will have great costs for the United States.” Marc Lynch makes the counterargument; he writes that “either a fatally flawed deal or one which had not won Iraqi political consent… were the only other plausible outcomes,” but Rogin’s reporting on how the negotiations foundered make that premise seem questionable.
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