Obama: All U.S. Troops Will Leave Iraq by End of 2011 (Bloomberg)
Friday October 21st, 2011
President Barack Obama announced that all U.S. troops will be out of Iraq by the end of the year, fulfilling a campaign promise to end U.S. military involvement there.
“After nearly nine years, America’s war in Iraq will be over,” Obama said at the White House. U.S. troops will return home “with their heads held high.”
He spoke after conducting a video conference with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. He said both governments agreed on the next steps in the U.S.-Iraq relationship.
Obama ran for president promising to end U.S. involvement in Iraq. The U.S. had been negotiating on the terms of an agreement with the government of Iraq on keeping some U.S. forces there past the end of the year. A sticking point has been U.S. insistence that its troops have immunity from prosecution in Iraqi courts.
Both governments have said that Iraq needs help with external security and with the continued training and development of its security forces.
Units have been steadily pulling out of the country. There are about 41,000 troops in Iraq, down from a peak of about 180,000.
The current U.S. agreement with Iraq for keeping troops in the country, negotiated under President George W. Bush, expires at the end of this year.