Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki announced on Saturday that Iraq plans to buy 36 US fighter jets, signalling his intent to seek a long-term American military training presence in the country.
But in an indication of the dangers for the American military here, a US watchdog group warned that Iraq is more dangerous than it was a year ago.
"Iraq remains an extraordinarily dangerous place to work," Stuart Bowen, chief of the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction, said in a report.
"It is less safe, in my judgment, than 12 months ago." The report notes that 44 Iraqi government and security officials have been assassinated since April.
It also draws attention to the rocket attacks on the American Embassy in Baghdad's Green Zone enclave and a deadly bomb blast July 7 that killed two US troops near an entrance to Camp Victory, the US military headquarters in Iraq.
Iraqi leaders are debating whether to ask US troops to remain after the end of the year, when the two nations' security agreement expires.
Al Maliki and other leaders want some US troops to stay, but have been unclear about how they would arrange it. They have said they would need parliamentary approval but also suggested that US military trainers could stay on through agreements with ministries.
But US officials have made it clear that a sizable troop presence would require the endorsement of Al Maliki's government and parliament.