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Senior U.S. military officials in Iraq want to keep 10,000 troops there beyond the end of the year, but talks between both countries are faltering because Iraqi officials worry that a continued U.S. presence there will inflame sectarian tensions, according to the Wall Street Journal.

All U.S. troops are slated to leave Iraq by the end of December under a security agreement struck between the two countries at the end of 2008, but violent incidents continue throughout Iraq.

Top U.S. military officials in Iraq believe that leaving a sizeable number of troops in Iraq would serve as a check against Iran, but anti-American cleric Muqtada al Sadr, whose party is part of the current Iraqi government, has vowed to step up “resistance” if U.S. troops stay, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday.

Read more at “Iraq Troop Talks Falter” in the Wall Street Journal.

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