Michael Wahid Hanna is a program officer at the Century Foundation.

With President Obama likely to announce a 19-month timeline for the withdrawal of U.S. combat forces from Iraq in the coming days, debate over the form, sequencing, and extent of the withdrawal has gathered momentum. But much of the discussion is being conducted from a Washington-centric perspective that ignores how radically the U.S.-Iraq Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA), signed by President Bush late last year, has altered the landscape for U.S. military forces operating in Iraq.

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