In his recent Washington Post interview, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki reiterated the Situation of Forces Agreement (SOFA) that would see American forces out of Iraq in December 2011, commenting that “”The last American soldier will leave Iraq…This agreement is not subject to extension, not subject to alteration. It is sealed.”
As the article details, many had thought that the U.S. forces would overstay their commitment, most notably because of the rocky road to Iraq’s new government, which was nine months in the making. Maliki was quick to point out that he felt Iraqi forces were capable of ensuring security. Since July of 2009, U.S. forces have been pulling out, first from Iraq’s cities, and more recently in August, when the last U.S. “combat” troops hopped the border into Kuwait. In this time Iraqi security has garnered more experienced, yet many still fear a surge in violence when the U.S. leaves. Iraqis still see glimpses of this violence every day, including major attacks, one of the more notable being directed towards Iraq’s Christians in late October, which killed 58 and led thousands more to flee. Until Iraqis stop leaving their country in fear for their lives, many will point to the government and security forces as not doing enough to protect them.