Maliki to Pelosi: No Need for US Troops in Cities

Pullout Won't Affect Security, PM Insists

by Jason Ditz, May 10, 2009

Today, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki assured House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that the nation’s security situation will not be harmed by the planned US troop pullout from Iraqi cities. The Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) requires all US troops to leave Iraq’s cities by the end of June.

Last week the Iraqi government ruled out extended the deadline to allow US troops to remain in particularly troubled cities in light of rising violence. In spite of this, top US commander in Iraq General Ray Odierno confirmed on Friday that he anticipates keeping troops in Mosul and Baghdad, though he would not comment on exactly how many troops would remain.

Tensions between the United States and the Maliki government were damaged last month when a raid in the city of Kut killed two civilians. Maliki insisted the raid was a violation of the SOFA and called for the US troops involved to face prosecution in Iraqi courts. The military insisted the raid was legal, and ruled out allowing them to face trial.

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