U.S. and Iraqi Negotiators Leave it Up to Next Prez

It will be interesting to see how the Administration describes this in the coming days an apparent need to set a timetable for Iraq. Mr. Bush, to date, has refuse to set a timetable, an official "close to the negotiations" told Karen DeYoung for her July 13 WaPo article, "U.S., Iraq Scale Down Negotiations Over Forces: Long-Term Agreement Will Fall to Next President,"
we are talking about dates...[ Iraqi political leaders] are all telling us the same thing. They need something like this in there. . . . Iraqis want to know that foreign troops are not going to be here forever.
DeYoung writes,

In place of the formal status-of-forces agreement negotiators had hoped to complete by July 31, the two governments are now working on a "bridge" document, more limited in both time and scope, that would allow basic U.S. military operations to continue beyond the expiration of a U.N. mandate at the end of the year.

The failure of months of negotiations over the more detailed accord -- blamed on both the Iraqi refusal to accept U.S. terms and the complexity of the task -- deals a blow to the Bush administration's plans to leave in place a formal military architecture in Iraq that could last for years.

"Dr. iRack," a Washington, DC-based analyst who works on Iraq issues, weighs in on why the talks failed. Meanwhile, Matthew Yglesias, over at The Atlantic, asks,
Am I the only one who thinks it's strange that precisely at the moment when we're seeing punditocratic cries for Barack Obama to acknowledge the "facts on the ground" in Iraq, and reject his timetable plan the actual facts on Iraq are developing in the direction of Iraqi insistence on a timetable?