News / USA

Obama, Maliki Hail 'New Chapter' for Iraq Without US Troops

President Barack Obama and Iraq's PM Nouri al-Maliki lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns, Monday,  at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia, Dec. 12, 2011
President Barack Obama and Iraq's PM Nouri al-Maliki lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns, Monday, at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia, Dec. 12, 2011

U.S. President Barack Obama and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki say their countries will maintain strong security, diplomatic and economic ties after the last U.S. combat forces withdraw at the end of the year.  

With less than three weeks before the last U.S. combat troops leave Iraq, and nearly nine years after the U.S. invaded to oust Saddam Hussein, President Obama and Prime Minister Maliki sat down to discuss the future of the U.S.-Iraq relationship.

As a presidential candidate in 2008, Mr. Obama pledged a "responsible" end to a war begun by his Republican predecessor, George W. Bush, and among the most politically divisive conflicts in U.S. history.

Mr. Obama said he has fulfilled that pledge, and in a joint news conference with Mr. Maliki emphasized that while Iraqis are now responsible for their own security, the U.S. commitment to Iraq's stability and security will not diminish. "We have got an enormous investment of blood and treasure in Iraq, and we want to make sure that even as we bring the last troops out, it is well understood both in Iraq and here in the United States that our commitment to Iraq's success is going to be enduring," he said.

Mr. Obama said Iraq faces challenges, including continual attacks by "those who seek to derail Iraq's progress" but said he is confident Iraq can succeed.

He said he and Mr. Maliki reaffirmed a "common vision" of a long-term comprehensive partnership, including cooperation in security, counter-terrorism, economic development and strengthening Iraq's institutions.

Mr. Maliki said the U.S. withdrawal symbolizes a successful first stage of the new relationship. "We have proven success on the first mission, a very unique success, nobody imagined that we would succeed in defeating terrorism and the al-Qaida.  We must also establish the necessary steps in order to succeed in our second stage which is the enduring relationship under the Strategic Framework Agreement," he said.

U.S.-Iraq discussions continue on implementation of a Strategic Framework Agreement, and on U.S. training for Iraqi forces.  An agreement on that eluded both sides over the past year.

Mr. Obama noted that the U.S. will have no bases in Iraq.  He said a large U.S. diplomatic mission will help support building effective diplomatic, civilian and military-to-military ties.  

The president mentioned training for Iraq's use of F-16 fighters it purchased, possible joint military exercises, and joint counter-terrorism operations.  The White House confirmed that the Obama administration notified Congress of its intent to sell Iraq another group of F-16s.

President Obama paid tribute to the more than one million Americans who served in Iraq, 4,500 fallen Americans and thousands wounded, as well as Iraqis who gave their lives. "They are the reason that we can stand here today and we owe it to every single one of them, we have a moral obligation to all of them, to build a future worthy of their sacrifice," he said.

The two men then made the short trip from the White House to Arlington National Cemetery where they jointly laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns, a memorial honoring U.S. soldiers whose remains have not been identified.

President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama travel Wednesday to Fort Bragg, North Carolina, where they will speak directly to U.S. troops and thank them again for their sacrifices.

Monday's White House talks came against the backdrop of concerns U.S. and Iraqi officials have that the U.S. withdrawal could lead to weakened security and an upsurge in violence.

Mr. Obama was asked about a comment he made as a presidential candidate describing the war in Iraq as a "dumb war."  He said "history will judge the original decision to go into Iraq, adding it is "absolutely clear" that sacrifices made by U.S. soldiers and civilians, and the courage of Iraq's people, made possible an Iraq that is self-governing, inclusive and with enormous potential.

You May Like

Hong Kong Democracy Calls Spread to Macau

Macau and Hong Kong are China’s two 'special administrative regions' which gives them a measure of autonomy More

After Nearly 2 Years, Pistorius Remains Elusive

Reporter Anita Powell reflects on her experience covering the Olympic athlete's murder trial More

Kenyan Coastal Town Struggles With Deadly June Attacks

Three months after al-Shabab militants allegedly attacked their town, some Mpeketoni residents are still bitter, question who was really behind the assaults 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.
Obama to Ramp Up Anti-Ebola Efforts in Africai
X
Luis Ramirez
September 15, 2014 11:01 PM
President Barack Obama on Tuesday will unveil his plan to ramp up efforts against the spread of the Ebola virus in Africa. VOA White House Correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Obama to Ramp Up Anti-Ebola Efforts in Africa

President Barack Obama on Tuesday will unveil his plan to ramp up efforts against the spread of the Ebola virus in Africa. VOA White House Correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid