In accordance with a security agreement signed between the US and Iraqi government in 2008, all US forces are to leave Iraq by the end of next year. There is also an August (2010) deadline for the reduction of American forces from 60,000 to 50,000 with a mission restricted to helping Iraqi forces in stabilization activities and advising and assisting them in certain operations. They will not be involved in day to day combat operations.
During the US surge 2007, US forced were spiked to 170,000 but the military has been engaged in a steady drawdown of troops since then.
Some Iraqi military leaders are however, expressing the view that the US should remain for another 10 years because of the un-readiness of the newly trained Iraqi army. They argue that it will take years before the local forces are equipped and trained to defend Iraq from any serious threat from its neighbours.
Among those voicing their concerns is the Chief of Staff of the Iraqi army, General Babakir Zebari who feels that his forces would take until 2020 before it could adequately provide the type of national security required in such a volatile area and especially given the real and present dangers faced by the country.
General Zebari said that the US should not completely pull out but a government spokes man said that a re-negotiation plan for troop withdrawal was currently not on the cards.
Since the start of the war in 2003, over 4,732 troops have been killed in Iraq, of these, some 4,414 were Americans. Though proper records have not been kept, some agencies estimate that over 150,000 innocent civilians have died during the conflict.