In a statement issued today after a call with Vice President Joe Biden, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki insisted that the decision on whether or not to allow the US occupation of Iraq to continue beyond December is entirely up to parliament.
US officials have repeatedly demanded Iraq approve a continuation of the American presence, with some suggesting it could last for years. The Sadrist Trend, one of the key factions in the parliament, has opposed any residual force.
Iraqi MP Ali al-Tamimy (Sadrist Trend) also made comments today accusing the Kurdistan Regional Government and its ruling coalition parties of having entered into a secret deal to allow US troops to remain in Kirkuk after the December deadline.
The 2008 vote cementing the Status of Forces Agreement through December 2011 only passed with the support of Sadrists and others based on a promised referendum which was never held. A new vote seems likely to be extremely difficult.
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