I've expected to read this, and would have been surprised if the US had actually pulled out.
Iraq will ask the US to keep troops in the country beyond an end-of-2011 pullout deadline, says the nominee to be the next US defence secretary.
Outgoing CIA director Leon Panetta said he had "every confidence that a request like that will be forthcoming".
"It's clear to me that Iraq is considering the possibility of making a request for some kind of [troop] presence to remain there [in Iraq]," Mr Panetta told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday.
In April, outgoing Defence Secretary Robert Gates said that American troops could, if required by Iraq, stay in the country beyond the withdrawal date.
Mr Gates had also expressed hope that Baghdad would make such a request.
The BBC's Andrew North in Washington says it seems likely that the US has offered Iraq some inducements to maintain its troop presence.
Barack Obama has claimed repeatedly that the US will leave, but Barack Obama has never been the most honest person. In the US lawyer-culture, he will claim that when he said "leave" he meant something different than the usual meaning of the word. That seems to me to be the characteristic American way of lying - redefining regularly used and understood terms, and telling the audience about the redefinition after the deception has taken hold.
It is a lot like the Iranian "weapons program" which really means to have the technology that could be used, in theory, to make a weapon such as Japan has.
US forces are not particularly threatening in Iraq. They don't bother me as much as it is disappointing though expected that the US all along had intended to keep bases in Iraq indefinitely.
The one question that remains is what are the "inducements" Obama offered Maliki to make this "request".