Almost all U.S. troops will be withdrawn from Iraq by December 31, President Obama informed Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki today. “After nearly nine years, America’s war in Iraq will be over,” said Obama in a speech this afternoon. “The tide of war is receding,” he declared, promising a similar transition in Afghanistan. Citing 180,000 troops deployed in two wars at the start of his presidency, Obama assured that the number will be cut in half by the year’s end. “It will continue to go down,” he added.
Obama made no mention of victory, but declared triumphantly, “Today I can say that our troops in Iraq will definitely be home for the holidays.”
CNN is reporting that small number of soldiers will remain stationed at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. There are currently about 39,000 U.S. troops in Iraq, and a proposed plan would have kept between 3,000 and 5,000 stationed there beyond 2011, but ongoing disagreements between the two governments over terms have reportedly ended the discussions.
This post has been updated with additional information.