In a statement on July 9, Talabani said parliamentary factions have been
granted a two-week deadline to submit recommendations on whether the U.S.
military should remain in Iraq. Both Talabani and Al Maliki have been
meeting parliamentary leaders on the issue.
The United States has 46,000 troops in Iraq and they were committed to leave
by 2012. Over the last month, the U.S. presence has come under increasing
attack from Iranian-supported Shi'ite militias.
"We're seeing more of those weapons going in from Iran, and they've
really hurt us," U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said on July 10 on his
way to Iraq. "The key right now is to make sure that we do everything
possible to ensure that the Iraqis within their own country are doing what
they can to stop the flow of those weapons and to stop the Shia from using
So far, officials said, Washington has not relayed a formal proposal for
a U.S. military presence in Iraq. They said the White House has been waiting
for Al Maliki to make the first move.
Officials said the parliamentary recommendation has been hampered by the
failure to approve a new Cabinet led by Al Maliki. So far, the government
has not named an interior minister or defense minister.
"This [U.S. withdrawal] issue was delayed till the issue of security
ministers is resolved, because these two issues are connected with each
other," Talabani's chief of staff, Nasser Al Ani, said.