US officials and the Iraqi government plan to authorize an open-ended American presence in Iraq, according to a secret draft of an agreement between the two nations. The March 7 draft, leaked to the Guardian, is intended to replace the current UN mandate authorizing operations that expires this year. The new plan would give the US authority to "conduct military operations in Iraq and to detain individuals when necessary."
Although the authorization is described as "temporary" in the document, no end date is given. Nor are there any limitations on the number of soldiers and the weapons that may be used. Though the Maliki government supports the agreement, it is expected to face stiff opposition in parliament.