Iraq’s government is pushing to have U.S. troops out of the country by the end of June.
Officials announced on May 4 that they decided against letting soldiers stay in the Iraqi cities past June 30, which is the deadline for withdrawl, MSNBC reports.
This would only apply to combat troops, and it wouldn’t keep them from patrolling outside a given city’s limits.
This news comes after a recent resurge in bombings. Now, there is concern among some Iraqi people that the exit could mean losing control of the country. However, there are those that are eager to take Iraq back after a six-year war and occupation.
Politically, asking soliders to stay in would be embarrassing to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who has tied the future of his career to claims that Iraq has gotten over the hump in its war against the Sunnis and Shiite extremists.
The U.S. government has said that the decision is entirely up to Iraq. The Pentagon said that if they want the U.S. to remain on bases in its city they must make an extension request.
The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen, said the increased violence hasn’t gotten bad enough to force the withdrawl deadline back. However, some American soldiers think the Iraqis could lose control of the north region of Mosul in a few months after troops pull out.
According to MSNBC, more than 450 people have died because of political violence in the last month. On Monday, the same day as the announcement, three people lost their lives after two car bombs exploded near the Oil Ministry and a police academy.
— Sonya Eskridge