Iraq War Ending, All Troops Going Home
The war in Iraq is ending and all US troops are coming home, US President Barack Obama said in his State of the Union address, vowing continued US support of the Iraqi people.
“As we take the fight to Al-Qaeda, we are responsibly leaving Iraq to its people,” Obama told lawmakers.
“But make no mistake: this war is ending, and all of our troops are coming home,” he added, winning a standing ovation in Congress.
He renewed his pledge that all American combat troops would leave Iraq by the end of August, more than seven years after the 2003 US-led invasion aimed at toppling the late Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.
“We will support the Iraqi government as they hold elections, and continue to partner with the Iraqi people to promote regional peace and prosperity,” Obama added.
The US president has switched the US military’s focus away from Iraq towards fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan and rooting Al-Qaeda militants believed to be hiding along its border with Pakistan.
The US military currently has 107,000 troops in Iraq and about 70,000 in Afghanistan, with another 30,000 due to arrive there in the coming months.
US combat troops exited Iraq’s cities, towns and villages in June last year and are scheduled to leave the country completely by August.
All American soldiers must withdraw from Iraq by the end of 2011 under a landmark security agreement signed between Baghdad and Washington.
“Tonight, all of our men and women in uniform – in Iraq, Afghanistan, and around the world must know that they have our respect, our gratitude, and our full support,” Obama told US lawmakers.
“And just as they must have the resources they need in war, we all have a responsibility to support them when they come home.”
More than 4,370 US troops have been killed in the seven years since former president George W. Bush ordered the invasion of Iraq, in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States.
The invasion led to the toppling, and eventual execution of Saddam, but set off a chain of sectarian violence and a bloody insurgency against US forces.
In a reminder of the violence still plaguing Iraq, a suicide attacker blew up his car on Tuesday while racing it at Iraq’s forensics headquarters in Baghdad, killing 18 people, wounding 80 others.
The attack marked another devastating breach of security a day after three huge minibus bombs targeting hotels killed dozens in the Iraqi capital, amid spiralling violence less than six weeks from general elections.Filed under: Our World