Open For Occupation?

by Chris Bodenner

Ackerman reports:

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki opened the door for the first time Thursday to the prospect of a U.S. military presence in Iraq after the December 2011 deadline for troop withdrawal set by last year’s bilateral accord something President Obama appeared to rule out during a joint appearance on Tuesday. Speaking to an audience at the U.S. Institute of Peace in Washington, Maliki said the accord, known as the Status of Forces Agreement, would “end” the American military presence in his country in 2011, but “nevertheless, if Iraqi forces required further training and further support, we shall examine this at that time based on the needs of Iraq."

He later writes:

It's especially noteworthy that Maliki thinks the "desire" for such a continued presence is "found among both parties" -- that is, Iraq and the U.S. -- when Obama signaled as hard and as explicitly as he could in their joint appearance yesterday that he has no such desire.

FP's Joshua Keating has more on Maliki's talk.