The U.S. is leaning on the government in Baghdad for a new Status of Forces Agreement that will keep American troops in Iraq beyond the end of the year. The current agreement, signed by the U.S. and Iraq in 2008, requires the removal of all U.S. military forces by December 31, 2011. If nothing changes, Americans will adhere to that deadline, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told the New York Times.
"I think our public position, our private position, hasn't changed, that our plan is to withdraw by the end of the year," Nuland said. "Were the Iraqi government to come forward and make a request for some continued security assistance, we would be prepared to look at it."
But it appears the U.S. is asking to be asked, and has been for some time. Fox News reported Tuesday that the Pentagon recently secured a commitment from the Iraqis to negotiate on the matter and the question is not whether, but how many, American troops remain in Iraq.
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Admiral Mike Mullen (pictured)