Maliki: US Will Only Leave 100 Percent Secure Areas

June SOFA Deadline Unlikely to Survive Maliki's New Demands

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki told the Associated Press today that he had informed top US officials, including President Obama, that any US military pullouts “must be done with our approval.” And while the Iraqi government has been generally forthcoming with approval for the US doing whatever it wants in the nation, getting the approval to leave areas may not be nearly so easy.

“I do not want any withdrawals except in areas considered 100 percent secure and under control,” Maliki declared, adding that “any area where there is a likelihood of a resumption of attacks, withdrawals from there will be postponed.”

The Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) deal between the two nations required American forces to leave all cities by June of this year, though the US has already been pretty vague about keeping its promise, saying only that they anticipate leaving the cities “at some point.” Of course given the tenuous situation across all of Iraq, a 100% guarantee that there will be no resumption of attacks is virtually impossible anywhere in the nation, potentially endangering every withdrawal date going forward.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.