The Iraqi parliament voted by an overwhelming show of hands yesterday to end US military control of their country – a crucial turning point in the Iraq conflict. The security agreement, the outcome of lengthy and rancorous negotiations, requires US forces to leave Iraqi cities, towns and villages by 30 June next year. American troops must withdraw from all Iraqi territory by 31 December 2011.
Until then, US forces will come under Iraqi supervision for the first time. Currently the US military can do what they like. In future, they will have to consult Iraqi officers before every operation and obtain Iraqi arrest warrants.
After difficult negotiations, the coalition government persuaded leaders of the Sunni Arabs, a fifth of all Iraqis, that they will not be at the mercy of the majority Shia community after the US forces have gone. The agreement was supported, after a brief deba
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