Speaking in an interview on Iraqi state TV, President Jalal Talabani says that many of his nation’s military commanders are still hoping for the US to maintain a military presence in the nation.
The US announced its intention to withdraw all troops from the nation weeks ago, after talks on a deal fell through over US demands for full immunity from prosecution while operating inside Iraq. Talabani says the commanders still want the US training mission to continue, though no deal appears to be in the offing.
As an alternative to the thousands of US trainers operating with impunity, there is now a plan in place to bring in 740 trainers from the US, but almost exclusively civilian contractors, with only a handful of military overseers.
Since materially all of Iraq’s military equipment was purchased from the United States, many were key to parlay this into keeping the US trainers with the hardware. Since many of the US warplanes haven’t even been delivered yet, the training mission would likely last many years.