Source: Press TV
Iraqi parliamentarians have petitioned the government against extending the US military presence in the war-torn country.
The appeal, signed by a hundred lawmakers, warns Baghdad against the dire consequences of the continued deployment of American troops beyond the December 31, 2011 deadline stipulated in the US-Iraq Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA), said one of the MPs quoted by a Press TV correspondent.
According to an Iraqi government official, the two sides are to renew their bilateral security deal in a manner that a large number of US troopers would be able to remain in five Iraqi provinces until 2016.
American military forces led the invasion of Iraq in 2003 under the false pretext that the former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein was in possession of weapons of mass destruction (WMD).
However, it was later revealed that not only the former Iraqi regime lacked such weapons, but that the American and British leaders, who had insisted on the all-out military action, were fully aware of the non-existence of WMD in the country.
Over one million Iraqis have been killed during the invasion, according to California-based investigative organization, Project Censored.
Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh has, however, denied the signing of such a deal with the United States.
Also triggering the anger and criticism of Iraqi officials has been a recent demand made by Washington for Baghdad to allocate USD 6.2 billion from its domestic budget to provide security for American troops and embassy in the country.
Speaking to Press TV concerning the American security demand, Iraqi Science and Technology Minister Abdul Karim al-Samarrai said recently that “Iraqi people have expressed doubts about US intentions in Iraq and I agree with them. If the US wants to withdraw its troops, why they have made such a request and want to extend their presence in the country?”