The real timetable? 50,000 troops for the "long term"

The president signs a deal to deal with the Iraqi government.

Published November 26, 2007 8:01PM (EST)

George W. Bush today signed the "U.S.-Iraq Declaration of Principles for Friendship and Cooperation." The White House calls the document a "shared statement of intent" that "establishes common principles to frame our future relationship," moves the United States and Iraq closer to "normalized, bilateral relations" and begins the process of "formal arrangements that will govern such a relationship."

What will that relationship look like?

The White House says the document Bush signed today commits the United States to "negotiate arrangements based upon a range of principles," including the "principle" that the U.S. military will stick around "to support the Iraqi government in training, equipping, and arming the Iraqi Security Forces so they can provide security and stability to all Iraqis; support the Iraqi government in contributing to the international fight against terrorism by confronting terrorists such as al-Qaida, its affiliates, other terrorist groups, as well as all other outlaw groups, such as criminal remnants of the former regime; and to provide security assurances to the Iraqi government to deter any external aggression and to ensure the integrity of Iraq's territory."

The translations from two unidentified senior Iraqi officials: The Iraqi government expects the United States to keep about 50,000 troops in the country over the long term.

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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