Prime Minister Maliki said his government wants to conclude an agreement with the United States of America pertaining to complete assumption of power by Iraq and a timetable indicating the process by which American troops would leave his nation. He is under pressure from many Iraqi lawmakers who want foreigners out of their country and full power to be vested in the Iraq government for the administration of the nation. Maliki told a gathering of Arab ambassadors “the goal is to end the presence of foreign troops” in his country.
The UN mandate for operations in Iraq will expire by the end of the year and some form of agreement has to be reached with the Iraq government in order for troops to continue their operations. There is some feeling Maliki will bypass the legislature and sign a memorandum of understanding with the Bush administration. This would avoid a difficult parliamentary fight. Admiral Mullen has made clear he needs some legal arrangement “to continue operations beyond the 31st of December of this year.”