The Iraqi Parliament has agreed to a plan that would see the withdrawal of US troops from their country by the end of 2011 and their removal from the streets by the end of June, 2009. It leaves open the question of whether the US will then obtain future bases in their country. And whilst a referendum will be held about the current decision, this will not take place until July 2009 after US troops have been returned to their barracks. A rejection of the plan would then speed up troop departures and would probably create a political situation in which the US would find it more difficult to establish permanent bases in Iraq.
Western Security Contractors (such as Blackwater) also become subject to Iraqi law.
Whatever the shortcomings are about the referendum and its timing, it does give the Iraqi people a voice in the changed situation that has developed since their last General Election. It will need to be democratic and open, with its decision being honoured. It opens up the prospect of the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq by around the end of 2009 (instead of 2 years later) by a decision of the Iraqi people themselves. We need a democratic decision with the Iraqi people deciding what they want on this matter - one way or the other.