It is reported President Barack Obama will today announce August next year as the date by which combat US troops will be withdrawn from Iraq.A congressional aide, speaking to media anonymously, said the plans would be unveiled during a presidential visit to a military base in North Carolina. It is understood between 35,000 and 50,000 troops will remain to train and equip Iraqi forces and conduct limited counter-terrorism operations. The announcement would fulfill one of Obama’s key campaign pledges. It would also fit with Obama’s intention to shift the US military focus to Afghanistan from Iraq to save money. Unveiling his budget plans yesterday Obama lambasted the previous administration for excessive defence costs. “No part of my budget will be free from scrutiny or untouched by reform. We will end no-bid contracts that have wasted billions in Iraq and end tax breaks for corporations that ship jobs overseas. And we’ll save billions of dollars by rolling back tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans while giving a middle-class tax cut to 95 percent of hardworking families.” Americans appear to have given a largely positive reaction to the president’s first budget, which envisages big spending plans to end the recession. But his opponents claim they will create a cololssal deficit.