On Friday, President Barack Obama and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki cemented an agreement for a planned end-of-the-year U.S. troop withdrawal from the country.
The Washington Post reports that, as a result of the withdrawal, only about 150 soldiers will remain in the country to protect the U.S. Embassy compound in Baghdad and the thousands of American diplomats who work there.
“The rest of our troops in Iraq will come home at the end of the year,” Obama said at the White House. “After nearly nine years, America’s war in Iraq will be over.”
Originally planned was an agreement between the two leaders to create special teams of American troops that would continue to train Iraqi police and military personnel. However, Obama and al-Maliki were unable to come to an agreement about how the special operations and training were to take place and scrapped the idea.
The announcement represents a more definitive end to a war that has lasted nearly a decade at a cost of about $1 trillion dollars to the United States. Some people believe that the looming withdrawal will catapult Iraq into a state of sectarian violence and open doors for Islamic militants in the country.
About 39,000 U.S. troops remain in Iraq today, and roughly 100,000 U.S. troops remain in Afghanistan. If the Obama Administration successfully withdrawals troops from Iraq, analysts say the feat will become valuable campaign fodder for the incumbent President in 2012.