Speaking today at the Carnegie Endowment, Admiral Michael Mullen vowed that the US would have only 30,000 troops left in Iraq by the end of the month. That means roughly a third of all troops in the nation are supposed to leave within 10 days.
To put this in perspective, it took over 12 months for the US to remove the last 5,500 troops they took out of Iraq, bringing the total to 44,500 left. The promised move would be significant.
If the US actually follows through, this would leave 30,000 troops left with the current Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) requiring them all to leave by the end of December. The US is not expected to meet the December deadline, however, and is expected to leave significant troops in Iraq as well as the potential for a major attack force in neighboring Kuwait.
The Iraqi government has not approved the repeated US demands to formally “request” their continued presence. The Maliki government has left open the possibility of military “trainers,” which it claims would not require parliamentary approval.