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To the surprise of everyone except those of us who’ve been paying attention, it seems the election of Barack Obama is speeding the Iraqi political process along. After all, Obama wants to see American troops leave Iraq. And Iraqis want to see American troops to leave Iraq. So now agreement can be reached:

Iraqi Shiite politicians are indicating that they will move faster toward a new security agreement about American troops, and a Bush administration official said he believed that Iraqis could ratify the agreement as early as the middle of this month.

“Before, the Iraqis were thinking that if they sign the pact, there will be no respect for the schedule of troop withdrawal by Dec. 31, 2011,” said Hadi al-Ameri, a powerful member of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq, a major Shiite party. “If Republicans were still there, there would be no respect for this timetable. This is a positive step to have the same theory about the timetable as Mr. Obama.”

There are still issues to be worked out, of course, but a United States that’s not driven by neo-imperial fantasies makes it much easier to resolve this.

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