Thursday, 12 May 2011

Al-Maliki deliberating whether or not to ask US troops to remain in Iraq

Iraq's Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki is in the process of deliberating whether or not to ask some US troops to remain in the country after the end-of year deadline. Al-Maliki has indicated that whatever his decision it would have to be backed by Iraq's main political blocs in a meeting at the end of the month.

Al-Maliki added: “Let us hear the voice of the citizen, the politicians, civil society organizations and probably even the governors' opinion…After having the agreement of the majority, we will submit it to the parliament.”

The prime minister was keen to point out that the decision would depend on “everyone”, a majority, rather than a select few. He also refused to voice his “personal opinion” on whether or not he wanted the US to remain in Iraq. Al-Maliki was somewhat vague about what he considered to be a “majority”, saying: “When the consensus reaches 70, 80 or 90 percent, then I call this consensus.”

Noting the opposition from anti-US Shi'a cleric, Moqtada Al-Sadr, Al-Maliki said that if a majority voted to extend the stay of the US troops, he would expect opponents to go along with the decision.

Sources: Washington Post, The New York Times, Reuters

For more news and expert analysis about Iraq, please see Iraq Focus.

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