25 October 2011

Iraq Mission Going to End With 2011

The President has announced that the mission to Iraq will be complete at the end of the year.

President Obama announced that the United States has fulfilled its commitment in Iraq and will bring all American troops home by the end of the year. “As promised, the rest of our troops in Iraq will come home by the end of the year,” Mr. Obama said.

The United States and Iraq had been negotiating whether the Obama administration would leave behind up to several thousand trainers after the end of the year, but had been at odds over whether the Iraqi government would grant legal immunity to American forces that remained.

Iraq’s political leaders announced earlier in October that they had agreed on the need to keep American military trainers in Iraq next year, but they declared that any remaining troops should not be granted immunity from Iraqi law, a point the United States has said would be a deal breaker.

The announcement brings to an end America’s more than eight-and-a-half years of combat in Iraq and comes as Mr. Obama moves ahead with plans to withdraw troops from Afghanistan by 2014. “Now, as we remove our last troops from Iraq, we’ll beginning to bring our troops home from Afghanistan, where we’d begun a transition to Afghan security and leadership. When I took office, roughly 180,000 troops were deployed in both these wars. And by the end of this year that number will be cut in half.”

The DoD has released an official statement by Secretary Panetta on Iraq.

The United States and Iraq affirmed today that the U.S. will fulfill its commitments under the current U.S.-Iraq Security Agreement and withdraw all of our military forces by the end of 2011.

Today’s announcement means that at the end of this year, there will be a clear end to the U.S. combat presence in Iraq. I wanted to take this opportunity to express my profound gratitude and appreciation to our men and women in uniform who have served in Iraq since 2003. Our troops and their families have borne a heavy burden during more than eight years of war, and paid a great price. Yet it is a testament to their strength and resilience that we are now able to bring this war to a responsible end. Thanks to their service and sacrifice, Iraq is ready to govern and defend itself and to contribute to security and stability in a vital part of the world.

We will now turn our full attention to pursuing a long-term strategic partnership with Iraq based on mutual interests and mutual respect. Our goal will be to establish a normal relationship similar to others in the region that focuses on meeting security and training needs. Iraq is a sovereign nation that must determine how to secure its own future. Going forward, we will work closely with the Iraqi government and their armed forces to help them continue to build a stronger and more prosperous country.

By: Brant

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