American soldiers will withdraw from cities across Iraq next summer and all US combat troops will leave the country within three years, provided the violence remains low, under the terms of a draft agreement with the Iraqi Government.
In one of the most detailed insights yet into the content of the deal, Hoshyar Zebari, the Iraqi Foreign Minister, has also told The Times that the US military would be barred from unilaterally mounting attacks inside Iraq from next year.
In addition, the power of arrest for US soldiers would be curbed by the need to hand over any detainee to a new, US-Iraqi committee. Troops would require the green light from this joint command before conducting any operation.
The Pentagon refused to comment last night on the proposals laid out in the draft agreement between Baghdad and Washington that covers the status of US forces beyond 2008. Britain will strike its own deal with Iraq but Gor-don Brown hopes to withdraw most British troops from Iraq by next summer, reducing the number of soldiers from 4,100 to “a few hundred” by then.