With the U.S. military withdrawal looming, Iraqi officials are wasting no time marking the anticipated departure, even if U.S. officials are being somewhat restrained. Meanwhile at least 16 Iraqis were killed and 19 more were wounded in the latest violence.
Iraqi officials noted the end of the U.S. combat mission during a ceremony in Baghdad’s Green Zone. During the service, President Jalal Talabani mentioned that foreign trainers would help Iraqis transition after the U.S. withdrawal or ‘reposture,’ as U.S. officials are calling it. Although Iraq could extend the U.S. mission, the U.S. military has insisted the troops be granted immunity, which the Iraqis will not do because of previous incidents. Other NATO troops are facing the same immunity denial as well. The eventual make-up of foreign trainers is unknown, but many of them will be Americans.
Separately, no official observance marked the transfer of Camp Victory to the Iraqis. The continued use of Americans in that role has been a source of great controversy; however, the troops are being replaced with a large "private army" working for the U.S. embassy.
Two bombings targeted the home of a Sahwa commander in Taji. In the first, three family members were killed. When security personnel arrived, four of them were killed in a second blast. Seven people were wounded.
Five Sahwa members were killed and one more was wounded in Shirqat during an attack on a checkpoint.
A pair of bombs in Tuz Khormato left one policeman dead and six others wounded, including two civilians.
A tribal sheikh was killed and two family members were wounded during a home invasion in Qaim.
A dumped body was found in Rabeaa.
Police freed a teenage kidnap victim in Tikrit.