Obama: U.S. Troops to Leave Iraq by End of Year
The Washington Post:
The Obama administration has decided to withdraw all U.S. forces from Iraq by the end of the year after failing to reach an agreement with the Iraqi government that would have left several thousand troops there for special operations and training.
President Obama and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki spoke Friday morning to cement that agreement in a scheduled telephone call.
However, a small number of troops will remain at the Baghdad embassy:
The two leaders also agreed to continue informally discussing the need for and the terms of a U.S. military presence in Iraq into next year, people familiar with the agreement said. As a result, the only U.S. military presence that will remain in Iraq after the end of the year will be the roughly 150 troops needed to protect the large U.S. Embassy compound in Baghdad and its thousands of American diplomats and other personnel, as well as provide training related to new military sales and other tasks.
“The rest of our troops in Iraq will come home at the end of the year,” Obama said Friday at the White House. “After nearly nine years, America’s war in Iraq will be over.”
According to ABC's White House correspondent Jake Tapper, the White House says 4-5,000 private contractors will also remain in the country.