Just across on Fox News. On to the White House now for the promised veto, although that won’t come until next week. Standby for the roll; it’ll probably look almost exactly like this, the roll from the vote a few weeks ago in which the Senate passed its own version of the spending bill.
Update: Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari on the Democrats’ “plan”:
Mr Zebari said the bill was “part of the politicking, basically, in Washington, and this has been damaging in fact to the security, political development, not only in Iraq, but in the entire region”.
He said a decision to withdraw US troops “should depend on conditions on the ground”.
“The moment that Iraqi forces, security, military, are self-reliant, capable of standing on their own, defending their own country, providing security, then definitely there would be a way for the troops to leave.”
Update: Lieberman’s speech before the vote is making the rounds right now. The money bit:
My colleague from Nevada, in other words, is suggesting that the insurgency is being provoked by the very presence of American troops. By diminishing that presence, then, he believes the insurgency will diminish.
But I ask my colleagues—where is the evidence to support this theory? Since 2003, and before General Petraeus took command, U.S. forces were ordered on several occasions to pull back from Iraqi cities and regions, including Mosul and Fallujah and Tel’Afar and Baghdad. And what happened in these places? Did they stabilize when American troops left? Did the insurgency go away?
On the contrary—in each of these places where U.S. forces pulled back, Al Qaeda rushed in. Rather than becoming islands of peace, they became safe havens for terrorists, islands of fear and violence.
So I ask advocates of withdrawal: on what evidence, on what data, have you concluded that pulling U.S. troops out will weaken the insurgency, when every single experience we have had since 2003 suggests that this legislation will strengthen it?
Update: Iraqslogger reports on Petraeus’s press conference this morning at the Pentagon: “When a reporter asked what might happen if a date was enforced for the redeployment of US troops–such as is currently under debate in Congress–Petreaus cited a reversal of this recent progress as the most significant consequence of that type of proposed transition of mission.”
Update: Slogger also cites recent reports in several Arab papers of Sunni tribesmen making gains against Al Qaeda in Anbar, to the point where they’ve allegedly secured permission from the Iraqi government to pursue AQ into neighboring provinces. It’s not clear how credible the sources are, though. What is clear is that AQ’s focus lately has shifted to Diyala province, on the border with Iran; Roggio describes the maneuvers and countermaneuvers going on right now in preparation for Petraeus’s Diyala campaign later this spring.
Update: It might not be a coincidence that the jihadis are moving into an area that borders Iran. The New York Sun has an interview today with a former Kurdish police office turned Iranian spy who claims that Iran is issuing special ID cards to Sunni terrorists that grant them safe passage through border checkpoints. If that’s true, then nothing short of surrounding Diyala and sealing the border with Iran will stop AQ from escaping when the heat is on.
Update: A dismal but worthwhile article in WaPo describes just how little progress the Iraqi parliament has made on key issues like rebaathification and the oil law. It’s hard not to share the Democrats’ defeatism when you read it. They’ve got a majority of Americans ready to pull the thin green line keeping them safe out of the country, not to mention the fact that suicide bombers have already infiltrated their own building, and they still can’t reach a compromise on at least one of these issues?
Update: Still no roll, but CNN says Hagel and Gordon Smith were the GOP crossovers.
Update: The Iraqi government reacts:
“We see some negative signs in the decision because it sends wrong signals to some sides that might think of alternatives to the political process,” Ali al-Dabbagh told The Associated Press…
“Coalition forces gave lots of sacrifices and they should continue their mission, which is building Iraqi security forces to take over,” al-Dabbagh said. “We see (it) as a loss of four years of sacrifices.”
Update: Here’s the roll. Not that it would have mattered, but McCain and Lindsey Graham couldn’t be bothered to attend.