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

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

Alaskans experiencing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more frequent and extensive wildfires, deteriorating glaciers, and swift shoreline erosion More

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age 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.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs