Maliki: U. S. Exit Not Subject to Extension or Alteration

Iraq's PM re-affirms Iraq's commitment to the U. S. withdrawal date in the Status of Forces Agreement.

The (finally) newly formed government in Iraq in the person of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has reaffirmed its commitment to the terms of Status of Forces Agreement between Iraq and the U. S.:

BAGHDAD—Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki ruled out the presence of any U.S. troops in Iraq after the end of 2011, saying his new government and the country’s security forces were capable of confronting any remaining threats to Iraq’s security, sovereignty and unity.

Mr. Maliki spoke with The Wall Street Journal in a two-hour interview, his first since Iraq ended nine months of stalemate and seated a new government after an inconclusive election, allowing Mr. Maliki to begin a second term as premier.

A majority of Iraqis—and some Iraqi and U.S. officials—have assumed the U.S. troop presence would eventually be extended, especially after the long government limbo. But Mr. Maliki was eager to draw a line in his most definitive remarks on the subject. “The last American soldier will leave Iraq” as agreed, he said, speaking at his office in a leafy section of Baghdad’s protected Green Zone. “This agreement is not subject to extension, not subject to alteration. It is sealed.”

The Status of Forces Agreement currently in force was negotiated by the Bush Administration and was approved by the Iraqi government in November, 2008. It called for U. S. combat forces to withdraw from Iraqi cities by June 30, 2009 and for all U. S. forces to leave Iraq by December 31, 2011.

President Obama has adhered to that schedule. It bears mentioning that, under the terms of the agreement, Iraq could demand that the U. S. withdraw its forces at any time subject to a year’s notice. There was some concern that a referendum of Iraqi citizens might have forced an earlier withdrawal. For various reasons that referendum never materialized so PM al-Maliki’s statement might be interpreted as a confirmation that U. S. forces will stay through the end of next year as much as a demand that they do so.

In my view this is all to the good, indeed, I think it’s overdue. There comes a point at which we’ve accomplished all that we can reasonably expect to accomplish by our continued military presence and, at least in my view, that point was arrived at some time ago.

Dave Schuler
About Dave Schuler
Over the years Dave Schuler has worked as a martial arts instructor, a handyman, a musician, a cook, and a translator. He's owned his own company for the last thirty years and has a post-graduate degree in his field. He comes from a family of politicians, teachers, and vaudeville entertainers. All-in-all a pretty good preparation for blogging. He has contributed to OTB since November 2006 but mostly writes at his own blog, The Glittering Eye, which he started in March 2004.


  1. michael reynolds says:

    “The last American soldier will leave Iraq” as agreed, he said, speaking at his office in a leafy section of Baghdad’s protected Green Zone. “This agreement is not subject to extension, not subject to alteration. It is sealed.”

    Oooh, twist our arms.

  2. mike says:

    sounds great. Good Luck Iraq – you are going to need it.

  3. Don’t anyone tell Dick Cheney

  4. Undertoad says:

    Well keep our number on speed dial, you know, in case you need anything. Maybe you just need that Strait of Hormuz blockade interrupted, and you forgot you don’t have an air force. Just saying, I look it looks like we cause trouble, but we also fix trouble, you know what I mean? Not for nothing a few of the locals have had their windows broken, this isn’t a very nice neighborhood. Pays to have a few powerful buddies, you know what I’m saying? Just remember, we pick up for our friends, everyone else we let go to voice mail.

  5. ponce says:


    I’ll bet the first thing Iraq does once we’re gone is to buy itself a shiny new air force.

  6. Undertoad says:

    Easier said than done — fighter jets are not listed on, and eBay is no good because the sellers never have the original box with the instruction manual! 😀

  7. steve says:

    Russia sells to everyone. The Chinese will also, but they buy their engines from Russia.


  8. george says:

    “Easier said than done”

    Unless of course you have money – say from selling oil?

  9. […] States, which calls for complete withdrawal of American troops from Iraq by the end of this year, is not subject to extension or alteration. Additionally, the current contingent of American troops is Iraq is largely confined to base unless […]