News / USA

Obama: All US Troops Out of Iraq by Year End

President Barack Obama speaks in the briefing room of the White House in Washington to address the status of U.S. forces in Iraq, October 21, 2011.
President Barack Obama speaks in the briefing room of the White House in Washington to address the status of U.S. forces in Iraq, October 21, 2011.

Multimedia

Audio

President Barack Obama announced on Friday that all U.S. troops will be withdrawn from Iraq by the end of this year. The announcement came after months of negotiations with the Iraqi government on extending a U.S. troop presence there.

In a video conference with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, Obama said he reaffirmed that the United States keeps its commitments, while Maliki spoke of the Iraqi people's determination to forge their own future.

The president said he had fulfilled a pledge he made as a presidential candidate to bring the Iraq war to a responsible end.

"Today I can report that as promised, the rest of our troops in Iraq will come home by the end of the year. After nearly nine years, America's war in Iraq will be over," said Obama.

He declared a formal end to the U.S. combat mission in Iraq last year. From a high of about 165,000 troops five years ago, about 39,000 troops remain. A U.S.-Iraqi agreement in 2008 set December 31 of this year as the date for complete withdrawal.

Between 2003 and this year, nearly 4,500 U.S. troops were killed in Iraq with some 32,000 wounded. Iraqi civilian deaths from years of sectarian conflict exceed 100,000, much higher by other estimates. At least 10,000 Iraqi soldiers also were killed in this conflict.

The U.S. and Iraq negotiated over a possible extension of the U.S. military presence, amid concerns about undermining progress as Iraqi forces assumed full security responsibilities.

Obama said the two countries now move to "a normal relationship," with U.S. civilians and diplomats in the lead, and discussions continuing about training and equipping of Iraqi forces.

White House officials said Iraqi forces have shown themselves to be increasingly competent and capable. Officials estimate that 4,000 to 5,000 private contractors will be providing security for U.S. diplomats and other personnel.

Though the White House notes that violence in Iraq has decreased 10 fold since a high point in the middle of the last decade, bombings and other attacks have continued on an almost daily basis.   

Obama said Iraq still faces some tough days to come.

"There will be some difficult days ahead for Iraq, and the United States will continue to have an interest in an Iraq that is stable, secure and self-reliant," said the president.

The president made a point of saying the U.S. insists that other nations respect Iraq's sovereignty, seen as a reference to concerns about expanded Iranian influence in Iraq.   

Deputy National Security Adviser Denis McDonough, who recently was in Iraq, said the U.S. is confident in the ability of a sovereign Iraq to stand up for itself.

"We don't have concerns about our ability to make sure the Iraqis can exercise the kind of sovereignty that they want," said McDonough.

Democrats in Congress issued statements praising Obama for fulfilling his pledge to bring a long and difficult conflict to an end.  

Republican House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner praised American troops, and the leadership of both President Obama and President George W. Bush for freeing Iraq from "a vicious tyrant" and ending a violent terrorist insurgency.

But Boehner said he remains concerned that a full withdrawal could jeopardize security gains.

Republican Senator John McCain called the decision a harmful and sad setback for the United States, saying it will be viewed as a strategic victory for U.S. enemies in the Middle East, especially Iran's government.

Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

Photogallery Americans Celebrate Thanksgiving With Feasts, Festivities

Holiday traditions include turkey dinners, 'turkey trots,' American-style football and New York parade with giant balloons More

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

With two years left in term, analysts say, president has less to lose by taking conversation on race further More

Video Italian Espresso Expands Into Space

When Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti headed for the ISS, her countrymen worried how she would survive six months drinking only instant coffee More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
South Africa Sees Male Circumcision as Way to Reduce HIV Infectionsi
X
November 28, 2014 3:31 PM
South Africa remains plagued by AIDS despite massive government and NGO efforts on prevention and life-sustaining Anti-Retro-Viral programs. But the country has opened up another front to reduce new HIV infections: promoting circumcision. Emilie Iob reports for VOA News from a pioneering circumcision center in Orange Farm, Johannesburg.
Video

Video South Africa Sees Male Circumcision as Way to Reduce HIV Infections

South Africa remains plagued by AIDS despite massive government and NGO efforts on prevention and life-sustaining Anti-Retro-Viral programs. But the country has opened up another front to reduce new HIV infections: promoting circumcision. Emilie Iob reports for VOA News from a pioneering circumcision center in Orange Farm, Johannesburg.
Video

Video To Make A Living, Nairobi Street Vendors Face Legal Hurdles, Physical Violence

The Nairobi City Council has been accused of brutality in dealing with hawkers in the Central Business District - in order to stop them from illegally selling their wares on the streets. Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

Throughout the crisis in Ferguson, Missouri, President Barack Obama has urged calm, restraint and respect for the rule of law. But the events in Ferguson have prompted him to call — more openly than he has before — for profound changes to end the racism and distrust that he believes still exists between whites and blacks in the United States. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Online Magazine Gets Kids Discussing Big Questions

Teen culture in America is often criticized for being superficial. But an online magazine has been encouraging some teenagers to explore deeper issues, and rewarding their efforts. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky went to this year’s Kidspirit awards ceremony in New York.
Video

Video US Community Kicks Off Thanksgiving With Parade

Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday whose roots go back to the country's earliest days as a British colony. One way Americans celebrate the occasion is with parades. Anush Avetisyan takes us to one such event on the day before Thanksgiving near Washington, where a community's diversity is on display. Joy Wagner narrates
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.

All About America

AppleAndroid