Wednesday sees the official announcement of the withdrawal of US combat troops from Iraq in a military ceremony in Baghdad which US vice president Joe Biden will attend.
It was a Barack Obama election campaign promise, and September the first will mark the beginning of the next phase of US involvement in Iraq, Operation New Dawn, where the 50,000 remaining US forces will only deploy at the Iraqi government’s request, and alongside the Iraqi army.
However despite relief the Americans are going home ordinary Iraqis fear their forces are not yet ready.
‘I wonder if the Iraqi troops are able to take on the security dossier. The armament of the army and the air force is incomplete. Our troops are still using light weapons such as Kalashnikovs and their few heavy weapons are inadequate.’
‘I don’t support the U.S troops’ withdrawal for the time being. Iraq is still in need of US forces as the security situation here is still unstable,’‘ were two typical comments from the public.
In August at least five Iraqi security personnel died every day, and they will now be on the frontline alone against both al-Qaeda insurgents and Sunni or Shi’ite militants trying to foment sectarian violence. Moreover, six months after elections, they still have no stable united government to support them.