NATO will stay in Iraq through the end of 2013, Reuters reports, suggesting that it "could signal flexibility from Baghdad over the presence of foreign troops." There's only a month before the deadline to begin pulling all 43,000 American troops out of the country, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is reportedly supporting a plan to keep between 3,000 and 4,000 troops in Iraq.
NATO's agreed to keep its Iraq staff of 160 there through 2013 to run a small training mission, Reuters says, in return for a promise from the Iraqi government that it would share costs of the mission and not ask for an extension beyond that date. Further, the NATO workers will get special "protection privileges" -- giving them the right to self-defense. The U.S. has said it would demand similar privileges if it sticks around past December 31, 2011.
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