Iraq's Kurdistan parliament speaker wants
US troops to stay on
Kurdistan region 'Iraq', — The parliament chief of
northern Iraq's autonomous Kurdistan region said on
Tuesday that US troops should stay beyond their
planned departure date of end 2011 because security
US officials have repeatedly asked Baghdad to decide
if it wants some troops to stay on beyond 2011, as
Iraqi leaders bicker over security-related
ministries left vacant since the formation of a new
government in December.
"Iraq's security situation does not warrant the
departure of US troops at this time," Kamal Kirkuki,
speaker of the Kurdish parliament, told AFP.
"Iraq is still suffering from instability, and a
terrorist war is still continuing," he said. "We in
the region wish there will be an Iraqi agreement --
positive or negative -- about keeping the US forces
or not keeping them."
Iraq’s Kurdistan Parliament’s Speaker, Kamal
He said the political parties in the Baghdad
parliament must agree in a "unanimous vote" on the
issue of US troops. "One or two factions cannot take
the decision and the responsibility for keeping US
forces in Iraq," he said.
The remarks of the MP, whose region's fighters
backed the 2003 US-led invasion, were aimed at the
powerful Shiite alliance in Baghdad that strongly
opposes the nearly 50,000 US troops left in Iraq
staying beyond the end of 2011.
Muqtada al-Sadr, a radical anti-American Shiite
cleric who is close to Iran and whose loyalists are
a key pillar of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's
threatened to unleash violence against US forces if
The Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish groups with ministers
in the Iraqi government have been arguing for the
past several months over who should control the key
interior and defence ministries.
"The Kurdish leaders are looking in a factual way at
the situation in Iraq," Kirkuki said. "We care about
having security and stability."
His comments came as US forces in June suffered
their deadliest month in three years, with 14
soldiers killed. June was also the most lethal month
so far this year for Iraqis, with 271 killed in
The US ambassador to Iraq, James Jeffrey, told
reporters on Saturday that Washington was open to
the idea of some troops staying behind, but insisted
Iraqi forces must provide protection.
"We're willing to consider some sort of presence if
they (Iraqi leaders) can formulate what exactly they
need from us and what their priorities are ... We do
need the Iraqi forces to secure our troops and,
frankly, to secure themselves."
Copyright ©, respective
author or news agency, AFP
does not take credit for and is not responsible for the
content of news information on this page