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Iraqi cities: Could violence bring US forces back?

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How US role will be different

"Our incomplete sovereignty and the presence of foreign troops is the most serious legacy" from Saddam Hussein, said Mr. Maliki in a national address to mark "Sovereignty Day" on Tuesday. Later in the day, he said that "the national unity government succeeded." Conspicuously absent was acknowledgement, grateful or otherwise, of the American military's role.

Under the terms of the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) the United States signed with Iraq last year, US soldiers will need Iraqi permission to conduct combat patrols and other activities in the cities. Most analysts expect such permissions will be granted when needed.

US commanders said they will stay particularly active in providing attack helicopters and other aerial support to Iraqi forces in the coming months.

Convoys delivering food, ammunition, and fuel to US bases will still be vulnerable to roadside bombs, and major US installations – like the 100-acre embassy compound on the west bank of the Tigris River – could be attacked by mortars or other forms of indirect fire.

Gen. Ray Odierno, the commander of US ground forces in Iraq, alleged on Tuesday that Iran is "funding and training surrogates" inside Iraq that have been behind recent attacks in Baghdad.

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