Although Iraq has not publicly requested American troops remain in the country after 2011, the White House and U.S. lawmakers are open about their preferences for post-withdrawal Iraq. U.S. officials said that the Obama administration would like to see between 3,000 and 5,000 troops remain behind. Some members of the U.S. Congress, however, believe that at least 10,000 Americans would have to stay behind to maintain security. These numbers do not include private contractors and the "private army" that the U.S. State Department is building for its own security.
For months, the United States has been pressing Iraq to decide whether they want the extension or not, but the political environment has made that request difficult. Shi’ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr has made it clear that his militia will resume attacks against U.S. troops should they stay behind. Other militant groups who view Americans as invaders could join them.
Across the country, meanwhile, at least six Iraqis were killed and 13 more were wounded in new attacks.
A soldier was killed and two others were wounded in Abu Ghraib, when a bomb exploded near the patrol.
A blast in Shahraban killed a Sahwa leader and wounded his bodyguard.
An Arab day laborer was killed and another was wounded during a shooting in Arbil, which is the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, so the attack may have been sectarian.
Gunmen stormed a home in Dujail where they killed a Sahwa leader.
A Supreme Iraqi Islamic Council official escaped injured during an assassination attempt in Kut.
The manager of a bank in Missan province was kidnapped.
The traffic police commander for Ninewa province was released from detention for lack of evidence. A force from Baghdad had arrested him 17 days ago.