Iraq’s parliament voted on Thursday to approve a security agreement regarding American forces in Iraq.
The new pact calls for most U.S. forces to leave the country by the end of 2011, and to withdraw from Iraq’s cities to bases by the middle of next year.
In return for their support, Sunnis asked for a public referendum on the pact, which will be held by July 2009.
A group of Shiite lawmakers loyal to anti-American cleric Moqtada al-Sadr opposed the pact and protested, wanting Americans to leave Iraq immediately.
Ghassan Shabaneh, a professor of Middle East and international studies at Marymount Manhattan College, speaks with Martin Savidge about the forthcoming public referendum, the significance of Shiite protests and the future of American involvement in Iraq.