It's been announced that the USA will withdraw almost all its troops from Iraq by the end of the year.
The Obama administration has decided to withdraw all U.S. forces from Iraq by the end of the year after failing to reach an agreement with the Iraqi government that would have left several thousand troops there for special operations and training.
President Obama and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki spoke Friday morning to cement that agreement in a scheduled telephone call.
The two leaders also agreed to continue informally discussing the need for and the terms of a U.S. military presence in Iraq into next year, people familiar with the agreement said. As a result, the only U.S. military presence that will remain in Iraq after the end of the year will be the roughly 150 troops needed to protect the large U.S. Embassy compound in Baghdad and its thousands of American diplomats and other personnel, as well as provide training related to new military sales and other tasks.
“The rest of our troops in Iraq will come home at the end of the year,” Obama said Friday at the White House. “After nearly nine years, America’s war in Iraq will be over.”
The failure to reach an agreement could pose security problems for the Iraqi government, still largely divided by sect and ethnicity, and for an Obama administration that inherited the war but has pledged an orderly withdrawal.
There's more at the link.
Y'know, if I was selected to be one of the 150 American troops selected to remain in Iraq, I'd be seriously reconsidering my career options round about now. There are any number of terrorists, religious fanatics, and disenchanted supporters of the former regime in Iraq . . . and those 150 troops are going to be right in their crosshairs. I reckon the bad guys will be forming lines to have a go at them - and they won't have any backup to roll in hot to their rescue. I certainly won't trust Iraqi forces to cover their six.
Another thing. I know the USA has been shipping a great deal of equipment home from Iraq, and sending more to the 'other sandbox' in Afghanistan; but a great deal has been left in Iraq, including several massive bases erected at great expense. How much military equipment is still in Iraq right now? Will it all be inventoried, packed and shipped out before the last of our forces leave, or will it be abandoned in place, like so much has been abandoned already? What about the cost of all that wasted material?
I hope and pray that the thousands of American lives sacrificed to attack, conquer and rebuild Iraq, and the tens of thousands of wounded and maimed fighting men and women, will not have been wasted in vain . . . but I fear that, thanks to feckless politicians, they may have been. Only time will tell.