At least eight Iraqis were killed and 10 more were wounded in light violence as Iraq prepares for the official end of U.S. military operations. U.S. Vice President Joe Biden arrived in Baghdad to officiate at handover ceremonies.
Although the country is expecting an increase in violence this week, so far it has been relatively quiet. Today, at least seven Iraqis were killed and 18 more were wounded in light violence. Other news from Iraq dealt with formation of the new government, the aftermath of the drawdown and the huge waste of resources on the part of the United States.
Updated at 8:10 p.m. Aug. 19, 2010 At least 11 Iraqis were killed and 17 more were wounded in light attacks that concentrated on security personnel. A day after U.S. combat forces left Iraq, Maj. Gen. Stephen Lanza said that Iraqi forces are capable of keeping security but selecting the new government would help. About 56,000 troops will remain to assist the Iraqis; however, the final withdrawal of Americans could be as late as 2020 depending on conditions.
Updated at 8:29 p.m. EDT, Aug. 18, 2010 The last brigade of U.S. combat troops crossed the border into Kuwait very early Thursday morning local time, two weeks ahead of the official drawdown deadline set by Washington. Although approximately 50,000 personnel will remain in Iraq and combat conditions will continue for many of those left behind, the withdrawal of the 4th Stryker Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division is a symbolic end to combat operations. Separately, the new U.S. ambassador to Iraq, James Jeffrey, arrived in Baghdad on Wednesday where he met with leaders to formally accept his new post. Baghdad was also the scene of numerous if small attacks against government officials, but the most gruesome attack occurred in Diyala where gunmen left the following message on their victims: “This is the future for all those who cooperate with the U.S. military and Iraqi security forces.” Overall, at least 25 Iraqis were killed and 33 more were wounded.
Despite indications of a surge in violence, U.S. President Barack Obama promised to end U.S. combat operations on schedule this month and shift the Iraq mission to civilian and diplomatic efforts. Still, at least 14 Iraqis were killed and 36 more were wounded in new violence. Meanwhile, Kuwait marked the 20th anniversary of the country’s invasion by Iraqi troops and start of the first Gulf War. Also, Saudi Arabia is welcoming the opportunity to strengthen relations with Iraq and reign in Iran’s influence in the region.
At least 31 Iraqis were killed and 15 more were wounded in a storm of attacks across the country. Most of the attacks occurred in and around Baghdad, which has been unusually quiet in recent days. Also, Gen. Ray Odierno admitted that there is a “Plan B” for a slower drawdown of U.S. forces should the political landscape remain chaotic after March elections.
Updated at 11:01 p.m. EDT, Sept. 9, 2009 At least 44 Iraqis were killed and 61 more wounded in attacks, including a significant bombing in a Kurdish village. Meanwhile, two Saddam-era officials were acquitted of war crimes involving the deaths of two British soldiers during the U.S.-led invasion, even as yesterday’s U.S. servicemember deaths have left planners wondering about the feasibility of the U.S. drawdown. Also, Iraqi and Syrian diplomats met behind closed doors in Cairo but failed to resolve tensions over Syria allowing foreign fighters entry into Iraq.