The Iraqi Cabinet has approved the Security Pact with the US. The importance of this Pact is that it has set a timetable for withdrawal; the Coalition will have to start moving in the summer of 2009 and be out of the country by 2011. The final approval by the parliament is probably going to be a mere formality.
However this is by no mean a time for wild optimism for Iraqis. The next few years will be vital to ensure stability of the country. Now that everyone knows when Americans will be gone, the fight for power in post-USA Iraq will begin (or continue). Let's hope it will be a fight in the parliament or in debates and not fighting in the streets. I am slightly skeptical that this will happen without any violence, but we will see. Maliki appears stronger than ever, and if he continues his shrewd management, it would not be impossible for him to impose his power even without US backing.
As Kevin Drum mentions, this also has powerful implications on the domestic scene here in America. BO will not have to fight to secure American withdrawal from Iraq; he will be able to claim with a straight face that he is merely following the previous administration's policies while spending his political capital on other issues. At the same time it reminds everyone of Barack's good judgment regarding Iraq.