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Pentagon narrowing options for Iraq troops

The Obama administration is reviewing a number of options that could leave several thousand U.S. troops in Iraq after the end of the year, but only if Iraqi officials make a decision about what they want American forces to do.

U.S. officials are growing impatient, as they continue to wait for the Iraqis to make a specific request. Without that, all but a couple of hundred U.S. troops will pull out by the end of the year.

U.S. officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the discussions, said they are finalizing several options. But they said key leaders, including President Barack Obama, have not yet made a decision because it still hinges on what Baghdad ultimately requests. Officials said they want to have the options ready by mid-month.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Tuesday that no decisions have been made, and that as far as he knows the Iraqis have not yet proposed a specific number.

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