“US troops could if required by Iraq stay in the country beyond the agreed withdrawal date of 31 December, 2011, the US defence secretary has said. Robert Gates, who is visiting Iraq, says an extended military presence is an option. ‘If folks here are going to want us to have a presence, we’re going to need to get on with it pretty quickly in terms of our planning,’ he said.”

 – “Robert Gates: US Iraq Troops ‘Could Stay Longer,'” BBC News, April 7, 2011