As Iraqis continue to celebrate the US Army’s pullout from its towns and cities, the question is will their security forces meet the challenge of keeping the peace?
While Iraqi soldiers paraded through Baghdad in vehicles decorated with flowers and Iraqi flags, dozens were killed and wounded by a bombing in the northern city of Kirkuk. In Washington, US President Barack Obama praised the pullout but warned of difficult days ahead: “Iraq’s leaders must now make some hard choices, necessary to resolve key political questions, to advance opportunity and to provide security for their towns and their cities. In this effort, America will be a strong partner to the Iraqi people on behalf of their security and prosperity. Make no mistake, there will be difficult days ahead. We know that the violence in Iraq will continue. We see that already in the senseless bombing in Kirkuk earlier today.” Obama said in an address. At least 30 people died and 65 were injured in a bomb attack on an outdoor market in Kirkuk. Around 250 people have been killed in bomb attacks across the country in the last two weeks – underlining the fragility of the security situation.