Though on many occasions the Iraqi government has appeared to be on the verge of grudgingly acquiescing to the repeated demands, so far they have not approved of keeping US troops in Iraq beyond December.
But the US demands keep coming and once again the call for a quick move toward a new Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) has come, this time from the Pentagon. The current SOFA was approved by the Iraqi parliament, grudgingly, in late 2008.
And therein lies the rub, as the US has been pressing for a new SOFA, with a new round of blanket immunities for US troops operating in the area. But getting parliamentary approval looks extremely difficult.
This has many Iraqi officials looking to sell an extension as “trainers only” so that no vote would be needed. Prime Minister Maliki only managed to get the last vote approved by promising a referendum which never came, and there seems to be overwhelming opposition to continuing the US presence. Still, the demands come with an assumption that Iraq will eventually give in.