It was all about the political pressure on both president Obama and PM Malaki. For the US this is a huge victory for the anti-war movement, which has successfully transformed the discourse in this country from a very supportive population of this war to a population that now over 75 per cent say this war is not worth fighting and the troops should be brought home immediately. That has been the case for some years now. And it has taken this long to transform that discourse change into policy change.
The parliament of Iraq, which is far more representative, has made it clear they do not need any US troops left in Iraq. The government of PM Malaki, which is afraid they “may fall” without the backing of US troops, has warned the troops to stay, as did the Obama administration. “They both are stuck with anti-war populations that want the war to end. For Malaki the issue was he could not get away with providing immunity to the US troops in the case of war crimes. For Obama, he could not get the Iraqis to say ‘Yes. We will give you immunity in the case of war crimes.’ Without immunity they were not prepared to stay because the Pentagon knows that their troops commit too many war crimes in these situations.