BAGHDAD, Nov. 22 (UPI) -- A quick withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq would mean chaos, two Iraqi ministers said Saturday, urging Parliament to pass the status of forces agreement.
Defense Minister Abdul Qadir al-Obaidi and Interior Minister Jawad Kadem al-Bolani, whose department includes the police, held a news conference to win broader support for the pact, The New York Times reported.
The agreement between the United States and Iraq covers U.S. military operations in the Middle Eastern country through 2011. If it is not signed by Dec. 31, when the current authorization from the United Nations expires, U.S. troops would have to withdraw to their bases.
Between the Shiite alliance and Kurdish legislators, the government probably has the votes for passage, the newspaper said. But Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki hopes for broader approval, especially since Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani called for national consensus before ratification, the newspaper said.
Opposition comes from the followers of radical Shiite cleric Moqtada Sadr, who describes the treaty as a U.S. trick, and from some Sunnis. The Sunnis generally want guarantees before they agree, including amnesty for detainees.