Well it is still out there. And some rather important news has happened or perhaps better put not happened there.
The draft security agreement between Iraq and the U.S. has been delayed by the Iraqi cabinet. This agreement defines the role that American troops can play in the country once the UN mandate expires at the end of this year.
It seems that the presidential election here my be playing a role in the lack of the agreements passage. See this story in the Post:
"We cannot rule out the possibility that there are some groups that want to delay the issue until after the U.S. elections," prominent Kurdish lawmaker Mahmoud Othman told The Associated Press. "They think that it is better to deal or to reach a better understanding with the new administration and they are not in a hurry."
The problem with that is the new administration won't take office until January. The question needs to be asked, if the agreement is not approved by the time the mandate expires, what happens to US troops in Iraq during this time.
The story in the Post states:
Without an agreement, or an extension of the mandate, the U.S. military would probably suspend operations because there would be no legal basis for the mission.
How do you go about suspending the operations of some 150,000 or so American soldiers in Iraq? Doesn't this seem to open up the possibilities of all sorts of attacks against American troops? How would they respond if attacked? Now indeed this might be political posturing on the part of the Iraqis in hopes of getting a better deal. But one would hope that someone, somewhere in the Bush administration would be figuring out how to proceed if the worst should happen. And, considering how the Bush administration rarely if ever does consider the worst case, the importance of securing an agreement takes on even greater importance.