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The clock is ticking for Iraq to ask U.S. troops to stay beyond an end of the year deadline to withdraw from the country.

It’s a question that sparked a massive protest Thursday on the streets of Baghdad when tens of thousands dressed in the colors of the Iraqi flag marched in a military-style parade and chanted “Get out, occupier” in the Shiite slum of Sadr City.

The protest comes as Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki meets with Iraq’s political leadership to discuss the possibility of extending American troops beyond the January 1, 2012, withdrawal deadline.

Al-Maliki’s government has requested a detailed assessment of the capabilities and limitations of Iraqi security forces, which they are then expected to balance against possible threats.

“If they should come and ask for something else, the timing does potentially impact feasibility,” Maj. Gen. Jeffrey S. Buchanan, spokesman for U.S. Forces-Iraq, told CNN.

Source: Mohammed Tawfeeq and Chelsea J. Carter and for CNN.

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The clock is ticking for Iraq to ask U.S. troops to stay beyond an end…