Iraq Troop Withdrawal: Obama Announces Complete Troop Removal by End of Year

Today, President Barack Obama announced that by the end of this year all American troops will be removed from Iraq.

As Obama stated in a press conference on Friday afternoon, Iraqis will now be responsible for their own security. Obama contends that as of Jan. 1, Iraq and the U.S. will function in a normal relationship between two sovereign nations, with mutual interest and mutual respect.

“This will be a long and enduring partnership,” Obama stated, outlining plans to build ties of trade, commerce, culture, and education with the Middle Eastern country.

The nine year war in Iraq will see 100,000 U.S. troops removed today.

Troops in Afghanistan, however, will not be removed by the end of the year; rather, as Obama previously stated he plans to keep troops in Afghanistan until 2014.

CNN contends that Obama’s press conference alludes not only to the removal of Iraq’s troops, but also those in Afghanistan.

On Friday morning, Obama held a video conference with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

“During their conversation, President Obama and P.M. Maliki strongly agreed that this is the best way forward for both countries," said a senior White House official.

Decisions to sever war relations began in September when the U.S. requested 10,000 troops to stay in the country to continue training. Iraqi government denied this request, and America contended fewer troops could potentially endanger soldiers due to lack of back-up.

U.S. presence in Iraq served as a buffer between brewing internal turmoil in the country, primarily due to sectarian divides between insurgency groups.

Although Obama assured Iraq’s government will remain stable, critics question what will happen to the Middle Eastern country after the last America soldier leaves in December.