US to complete pullout from Iraq by end of year

President Barack Obama announced this afternoon that the US military will withdraw the remaining troops from Iraq by the end of this year. From The Ticket:

“Today, I can report that as promised, the rest of our troops in Iraq will come home from Iraq at the end of this year,” Obama said. “After nine years, America’s war in Iraq will be over. Over the next two months our troops in Iraq–tens of thousands of them–will pack up their gear and board convoys for the journey home.”

Obama affirmed that he has been in talks with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and that the Iraqi government supported the American withdrawal.

“We are in full agreement about how to move forward,” Obama said.

The Iraqi military and police have made great strides in taking over day-to-day security and fighting the remnants of the insurgency, but a US presence of trainers and advisers would have helped fill any shortcomings. US forces have also served as a calming force in the disputed area of Kirkuk. Finally, a US presence in Iraq, no matter how small, would help check Iranian ambitions. With the removal of US combat forces, these brakes have now been removed.

President Obama also reiterated that US forces are on their way out of Afghanistan. From The Oval:

The president also noted he is planning to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan, a process hoped to be completed by 2014.

Obama inherited the Iraq and Afghanistan wars from predecessor George W. Bush.

“I would note that the end of war in Iraq reflects a larger transition,” Obama said. “The tide of war is receding.”

Obama has lived up to his promises. Withdrawing from Iraq was one of several core foreign policy goals announced during the 2008 campaign. He also said he would remove the “surge” forces from Afghanistan beginning the summer of 2011, and he is doing that. For those expecting a significant US presence in Afghanistan in 2014 (assuming Obama is reelected), don’t count on it.

The Pakistanis know this, as do their clients, the Taliban and the Haqqani Network. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited Pakistan this week to pressure the government and the military (the real power in Pakistan) to move against the Taliban and more specifically, the Haqqani Network. Expect her threats to fall on deaf ears. The Pakistanis believe the endgame is near, and have few incentives to fold a winning hand now.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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  • Paul D says:

    Who is the bigger enemy Iran or Pakistan?

  • I think Obama instinctly understood a while ago that these wars are to be fought differently and that the idea of infusing massive American troops and aid in an effort to change the societies concerned was fundamentally flawed.
    This doesn

  • Alan Hawk says:

    I hope that these pullouts are not pre-mature. I would hate for the U.S. to become serial invaders of both countries.

  • Devin Leonard says:

    We have won the war in Iraq. The deadliest Military ever fielded in history can hang it’s head high. We killed tens of thousands of insurgents, Al Qaida and Shia Militia, and won every major battle during the conflict. We are still the world’s most lethal military, no other country could have done what we did in Iraq. Obama is sending our boys home with dignity and honor, just as he promised he would…good for him

  • m3fd2002 says:

    Well this is a long time coming. I know it will cause heartburn for many, but leaving Iraq is inevitable and prudent. They don’t want us there (except the Kurds). We can use those resources better in other theaters of operations. If Iraq can’t maintain a tolerant democracy, I doubt any arab country can, so lets see.

  • mike merlo says:

    Where not even out of there yet & the Turks are already doing as they see fit & asking the Iranians to assist them in respect to ‘Kurdish’ rebels. All the while telling the US & Iran not to let the supposed assassination plot add more tension to their on going differences. When we ‘do’ the Iranians, which we will, we should ‘do’ the Turks to. The Turks as of late have sought to take the lead in the affairs of the Middle East yet they backed out of allowing the US military through fare into Iraq in ’03. Screw ’em. They dog snivel about Israel when they themselves are nothing but slaved up imports from Central Asia foisted into the area by Arab Muslims.

  • Victor says:

    We have won the war in Iraq.
    You mean we won the war for Iran? After all, we removed Iran’s biggest enemy and the biggest check on Iranian influence and replaced it with an Iranian-friendly government. Iran couldn’t be happier with the outcome.

  • Chris says:

    Just look at the statements Panetta sent out mere hours AFTER Obama came out with his ‘major announcement”.
    It seems that immunity is a non-starter in the parliament(which frankly you really can’t blame the Iraqis for) so they’ll simply be attached to the embassy as technical experts or special advisors ala Bahrain,the UAE,and Qatar.
    A politician has lied.
    What a surprise.
    (also what makes Bill think we won’t have a significant presence in Afghanistan even without Obama’s reelection,have the generals and diplomats all been lying to the Afghans then about the semi-permanent bases or what?

  • Soccer says:

    Interesting, people only seem to care about Iraq once it’s announced that the war will completely end.

  • Mike says:

    “You mean we won the war for Iran?”
    That old chestnut is a worn out and debunked talking point by those opposed to OIF. Iraqis and Iranians deeply distrust and dislike each other due to the legacy of the Iran Iran war, the Iranian support of militias in Iraq after the liberation and the ethnic differences between the two nations.

  • James says:

    Hopefully, many of the ‘good’ Iraqis we can continue to train ‘off-site’ (like at NATO installations in Europe). The same can and should apply to the Afghans.

  • My2Cents says:

    Iranian influence is strongly tied to Muqtada al-Sadr position as the political king-maker for Nouri al-Maliki. But al-Sadr

  • Williams says:

    I agree with Victor. George HW Bush left Saddam Hussein in place to counter Iran. George W Bush took Saddam out and opened the way for Iran to waltz into Iraq. How much dumber can a president get? We are paying for it now and will be for a long time to come. He didn’t listen to his Daddy.

  • Javier says:

    Iranian influence is strongly tied to Muqtada al-Sadr position as the political king-maker for Nouri al-Maliki.
    It also has strong influence over Nouri al-Maliki as many Iraqis refer to him as nuri al-irani, “Nuri the Iranian,” and to his office as qali irani, “the Persian rug.”
    Iraqis and Iranians deeply distrust and dislike each other due to the legacy of the Iran Iran war, the Iranian support of militias in Iraq after the liberation and the ethnic differences between the two nations.
    While true to some extent, I think your statement is far too simplistic. The only group that truly hate the Iranians are the Sunnis (especially Baathist members), Iran’s longtime foes. The rest of other groups (Shias, Kurds, Turkmen) don’t share the Sunnis’s sentiment toward Iran though they disliked the Iranian regime, but not the Iranian people in general.


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