In January 2011, once the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki was formed, President Obama decided, with the concurrence of his advisers, to keep troops on. But he wasn’t yet willing to tell Prime Minister Maliki or the American people. First, Washington had to determine the size of a residual force. That dragged on, with the military pushing for a larger force, and the White House for a small presence at or below 10,000, due to costs and the president’s prior “all troops out” position. In June the president decided on the force level (eventually 5,000) and obtained Mr. Maliki’s assent to new SOFA talks.
The Obama administration was willing to “roll over” the terms of the 2008 Status of Forces Agreement as long as the new agreement, like the first, was ratified by the Iraqi Parliament.
Iraqi party leaders repeatedly reviewed the SOFA terms but by October 2011 were at an impasse. All accepted a U.S. troop presence—with the exception of the Sadrist faction, headed by the anti-American cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, which held some 40 of Iraq’s 325 parliamentary seats. But on immunities only the Kurdish parties, with some 60 seats, would offer support. Neither Mr. Maliki, with some 120 seats, nor former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi, the leader of the largely Sunni Arab Iraqiya party with 80 more, would definitively provide support. With time running out, given long-standing U.S. policy that troops stationed overseas must have legal immunity, negotiations ended and the troop withdrawal was completed.....snip~
James Franklin Jeffrey: Behind the U.S. Withdrawal From Iraq - WSJ
Yet Maliki comes in 2013 due to how bad things are and with ISIL ready to break into Syria. Twice in the same year. Even knowing he was going to be put out of office.