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Obama Signs Legislation Committing U.S. to Iraq Withdrawal.

Summary: Date Affirmed as December 31, 2011, Quarterly Reports to Congress Required

President Barack Obama today signedlegislation that that formally recognizes the U.S. obligation to withdraw from Iraqand requires the Pentagon to provide quarterly reports on the progress of thatwithdrawal.

This is the first time since the invasion of Iraq in 2003 that Congress has passedlegislation that affirms that the United States is committed to leaving Iraq by aspecific date, two national Quaker organizations, the American Friends ServiceCommittee (AFSC) and the Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) saidtoday.

"We congratulate Senate Armed Services Chairman Carl Levin and House Armed ServicesChairman Ike Skelton for including this important milestone in the 2010 militaryauthorization bill," said Aura Kanegis, Director of Public Policy for the AmericanFriends Service Committee. "The U.S.-Iraq bilateral agreement is so central topublic discourse in Iraq, but too often forgotten in the U.S." The United States andIraq signed a bilateral agreement in November 2008 that commits the United States towithdraw all military forces from Iraq by December 31, 2011.

The legislation signed by President Obama today requires the Pentagon to report toCongress every three months on progress to withdraw all U.S. troops, withdraw ortransfer to Iraqi authorities all military equipment, close down or transfer toIraqi authorities military bases, and release or transfer to Iraqi authorities allIraqi detainees before the December 31, 2011 deadline.

"The first congressional effort to signal support for complete withdrawal was theban on establishing permanent bases in Iraq," said Jim Fine, the LegislativeSecretary on Foreign Policy at the Friends Committee on National Legislation. "Nowthe Pentagon will issue month by month reports on the progress made to close downbases or transfer them to the Iraqi government, which adds new teeth to thishistoric provision."

With this law, Congress has established unprecedented oversight of the progress madetowards complete withdrawal from Iraq. 2009 Al Bawaba (

2009 Al Bawaba (

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Date:Oct 29, 2009
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