"This is the day of our sovereignty," said Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki.
"Together we will go forward toward a free, prosperous and glorious Iraq, where Iraqis can live with pride and dignity and can be proud that they are sons of this beloved country," he said.
Since the cabinet approved the final version of the security agreement Nov. 16, the government has waged an intense effort to urge approval of the measure, which goes into effect Jan. 1, 2009, when the United Nations mandate that now governs U.S. troop operations in the country expires.
There's a timetable in the document that requires U.S. troops to withdraw from cities and towns by June 30, 2009, and for all troops to leave by the end of 2011 unless the Iraqis and Americans negotiate a separate pact to govern an extension of the American military presence. Which leaves the door open to further arrangements, of course.
This is a defeat for Iran, which was lobbying the Shiite government we set up not to ratify the deal.Ultimately, Iraq decided it didn't want to become an Iranian colony.
We'll see what develops..