Possible Timeline to Pull Out of Iraq: Immunity on the Table

Speaking on condition of anonymity, officials have revealed that ongoing talks will hopefully lead to a withdrawal of US troops by October 2010.

The proposed agreement calls for Americans to hand over parts of Baghdad’s Green Zone — where the U.S. Embassy is located — to the Iraqis by the end of 2008.

U.S. acceptance — even tentatively — of a specific timeline would represent a dramatic reversal of American policy in place since the war began in March 2003.

Both Iraqi and American officials agreed that the deal is not final and that a major unresolved issue is the U.S. demand for immunity for U.S. soldiers from prosecution under Iraqi law.

Throughout the conflict, President Bush steadfastly refused to accept any timetable for bringing U.S. troops home. Last month, however, Bush and al-Maliki agreed to set a “general time horizon” for ending the U.S. mission.

But differences over immunity could scuttle the whole deal, the Iraqis said. One of the officials described immunity as a “minefield” and said each side was sticking by its position.

One official said the Iraqis were willing to grant immunity for actions committed on American bases and during combat operations — but not a blanket exemption from Iraqi law.

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