U.S. willing to leave 10,000 troops in Iraq past year’s end, officials say

Posted: July 6, 2011 in Iraq, US News

David S. Cloud and Ned Parker
The Los Angeles Times
July 6, 2011

Keeping U.S. troops in Iraq after the departure deadline would require accord of Iraq’s deeply divided government. The Iraqis have not made a formal request for U.S. troops to stay.

Reporting from Washington and Baghdad—
The White House is prepared to keep as many as 10,000 U.S. troops in Iraq after the end of the year, amid growing concern that the planned pullout of virtually all remaining American forces would lead to intensified militant attacks, according to U.S. officials.

Keeping troops in Iraq after the deadline for their departure at the end of December would require agreement of Iraq’s deeply divided government, which is far from certain. The Iraqis so far have not made a formal request for U.S. troops to remain, according to the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.

Some powerful Iraqi political forces are staunchly opposed to a continued U.S. presence.

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