Iraqi lawmakers considering extending US troop presence beyond end of 2011

The Iraqi government has agreed to negotiate with the US military, about whether US troops can stay in the country beyond the scheduled December 31st departure date. There are currently more than 46,000 military personnel in Iraq, and US officials have been pressuring Iraq to make a decision soon on how many of those might stay to help with security issues in the war-torn country. Michael Mullen, chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, visited Baghdad earlier this week, and said that without a decision, the US military would have no option but to plan for a full withdrawal. Mullen also said any plan for keeping US troops in Iraq would need to include full immunity from prosecution for US forces.

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