U.S.-trained Iraqi forces are now responsible for the security of their country.
Even the mightiest of empires must let go. Seven years after the invasion to topple Saddam Hussein, the U.S. on Saturday handed over all combat duties to Iraqi security forces, fulfilling President Obama’s promise to end U.S. combat operations by the close of August. —JCL
Editor’s note: I’ve been waiting to write this headline for over seven years.
Update: As The New York Times points out, “These troops could still be sent into combat, depending on what happens around them. But that possibility has been relegated to an unwanted contingency — one the Obama administration hopes is remote — rather than the mission.”
The United States handed over control of all combat duties to Iraqi security forces on Saturday in a further sign its withdrawal is on track despite a political impasse in Iraq and a recent rise in violence.
President Barack Obama said last Monday he would stick to his promise to end U.S. combat operations in Iraq by August 31, with security being left in the hands of Iraq’s own U.S.-trained army and police.
“Today is an extremely important day as we continue to progress toward turning over full responsibility to the Iraqi security forces,” General Raymond Odierno, top commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, told reporters after a departure ceremony for the last U.S. combat brigade.