Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshiyar Zebari and US ambassador Ryan Crocker signed a long-awaited accord on Monday requiring Washington to withdraw its forces within three years.
Washington does not want to alter a draft security pact with Iraq, despite demands for change from Baghdad where the document failed to win support from Iraqi political leaders, US Defense Secretary Robert Gates said on Tuesday.
Thousands of followers of anti-American cleric Moqtada al-Sadr took to the streets on Saturday in a demonstration against a pact that would allow US forces to stay in Iraq for three more years.
The US has apprently agreed to remove all of its combat troops from Iraq by 2011.
President Bush plans to keep the number of US troops in Iraq near the current level through the end of the year and will pull home about 8,000 US troops by February, when the next president will be in charge of wartime decision-making.
The United States asked Iraq for permission to maintain a troop presence there to 2015, but US and Iraqi negotiators agreed to limit their authorization to 2011.
Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki dug in his heels Monday on the future of the US military in Iraq, insisting that all foreign soldiers leave the country by a specific date in 2011 and rejecting legal immunity for American troops.
Iraq and the US negotiators have reached a draft agreement on a proposed withdrawal timetable and other issues on the US military presence in Iraq beyond 2008, CNN reported Friday.
Demonstrators take to the streets in Sadr City to protest the visit of US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, in Baghdad August 21, 2008.
As of Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2008, at least 4,145 members of the U.S. military have died in the Iraq war since it began in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count.
Military contracts in the Iraq theater have cost taxpayers at least $85 billion, and when it comes to providing security, they might not be any cheaper than using military personnel.
A US marine was killed and two others were injured when their unit came under small-arms fire from an "enemy force" in Iraq's western province of An bar, the US military said on Wednesday.