An agreement to extend the American military mandate in Iraq beyond this year has stalled over objections by Iraqi leaders and is in real danger of falling apart. Though it was thought to be near completion a little over a month ago, major points of of contention have stalled it nearly to the point of being scuttled. While there is a chance it still could go through before December 31st, there are major points of disagreement that stand int the way. The most prominent obstacle is whether American troops and military contractors will be “subject to the country’s criminal justice system for any crime committed outside of a military operation.
In addition is Prime Minister Maliki's insistence that the U.S. will be leaving -- and soon. Setting a specific timeline has been resisted by the Bush administration. Although they have hedged their own statements at times, Maliki and others in his government have made it clear they consider 2010 a realistic endpoint for the current U.S. role and presence in Iraq. Bush administration officials prefer a much later timeline.