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Withdrawing from Iraq: Schedules, Risks, and Mitigating Strategies

Since the signing of the Status of Forces Agreement last year, which committed the United States to an unconditional withdrawal of U.S. forces on a three-year timeline, the withdrawal issue has receded from the American public debate about Iraq. President Barack Obama has set his own timeline that fits comfortably within the SOFA.  How much and how fast the United States leaves Iraq will nonetheless have a critical effect on U.S. strategic interests in the region. Some Iraqi leaders have publicly stated their openness to a post-2011 presence.

RAND researchers recently completed an independent study to examine drawdown schedules, risks, and mitigating strategies. The report, “Withdrawing from Iraq: Alternative Schedules, Associated Risks, and Mitigating Strategies,” presents three alternative drawdown schedules—one consistent with the Obama administration’s stated intentions, one slower, and another faster.

The report will be presented by RAND Senior Fellow James Dobbins and discussed by experts Brian Katulis of the Center for American Progress and Michael Gordon, Jennings Randolph Fellow at the U.S. Institute of Peace, and chief military correspondent for The New York Times.

Listen to the audio for this event here.