Iraq drags its feet as U.S. races to decide on extending troop presence

By Published: May 9, 2011

When Adm. Mike Mullen traveled to Iraq last month, he asked its leaders to decide "within weeks" whether they wanted to request that U.S. troops remain in the country beyond the end of the year. But the Iraqis say they're in no hurry to make a decision, the Washington Post reported, throwing the long-planned drawdown into limbo.

The U.S. military is scheduled to begin withdrawing nearly 50,000 troops, closing bases and removing equipment in late summer. If the Iraqis delay their decision much longer, the U.S. could be forced to alter or even reverse the drawdown at a huge cost, the Post said.

According to the Post, a growing chorus of military advisers wants to keep a presence in Iraq to help stabilize the country and deter Iran. But President Barack Obama says the U.S. troops will leave unless the Iraqi government formally asks them to stay.

Iraqi officials are reluctant to tackle the issue for a variety of reasons, according to the Post story: political brinksmanship, popular unrest and a recent wave of assassinations of public figures.

Read the rest of the story, "U.S. in limbo over Iraq troop presence," from the Washington Post 

U.S. Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, meets with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki in Baghdad on April 21, 2011.


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