An Associated Press report today indicates that Iraqis, faced with an uncertain future following an impending U.S. withdrawal from the country, are currently accumulating weapons faster than they have in recent years.

Saadoun al-Sahil, a furniture merchant in Baghdad, told AP that, “These weapons are for the protection of myself and my family. I fear that things will get as worse as it was in 2005 and 2006. We cannot predict what will happen tomorrow or after tomorrow.”

But in a report from American Enterprise Institute, resident scholar and Director of the AEI Critical Threats Project Fred Kagan offers his own predictions, namely that “The Iraqi Security Forces will not be able to defend Iraq’s sovereignty, maintain its independence from Iran, or ensure Iraq’s internal stability without American assistance, including some ground forces in Iraq, for a number of years.”

Therefore, according to Kagan, negotiating an extended security arrangement between the U.S. and Iraq before the current one expires at the end of 2011 is “an urgent national security priority for the United States and Iraq.”