The deadline for the 46,000 US troop withdrawel from Iraq is December 2011. This withdrawel is based on an agreement signed between Washington and Baghdad in 2008.
Until recently it has been unknown whether Baghdad would agree to allow US troops to stay on in Iraq, post 2011. Iraqi governmental authorisation would be needed for this to be effective.
Allegedly US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta has said that Iraq had agreed to keep American troops post 2011. He said "We are going to maintain long-term relationship with Iraq to make sure they remain stable, whether it's diplomatic or military".