Iraq Prime Minister: U.S. Forces Have a Role and May Return

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, center, is seen with Ambassador to Iraq James F. Jeffrey, left, and Gen. Lloyd Austin, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, right, in Baghdad, Iraq, Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2011. Biden arrived on a surprise visit to Iraq late Tuesday in a trip designed to chart a new relationship between the two countries after all American forces have left the country in just over a month. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)

December 31, 2011 is the deadline for withdrawing all U.S. forces from Iraq. But, that might not be a one-way road out of Baghdad.

The Iraqi Prime Minister has indicated he’s willing to have American troops return as trainers for the Iraqi forces.

The New York Times reports:

“No doubt, the U.S. forces have a role in providing training of Iraqi forces,” said Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki after meeting Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., who is here to mark the withdrawal and to inaugurate a new phase in ties between the United States and Iraq.

Mr. Maliki insisted that Iraq could provide for its internal security. And he made much of Iraq’s desire to build a relationship with the United States as a sovereign country, dealing with Washington on the basis of national interest and “mutual respect.”

The Wall Street Journal reports:

U.S. and Iraqi leaders signaled Wednesday that the two governments are working toward an agreement to return some American forces to Iraq after completion of next month’s troop withdrawal to help train Iraqi units and maintain security gains.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said there is “no doubt the U.S. forces have a role in providing training of Iraqi forces.” Vice President Joe Biden, who arrived in Baghdad on Tuesday night.

Discussions continue between Iraq and the U.S. on security arrangements, including training, intelligence and counter-terrorism.

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