Barack Obama has vowed to pull all US troops out of Iraq this year, ending speculation that some may stay on to help the country’s authorities.
After months of negotiations with Baghdad over possibly keeping some soldiers as trainers, the President said he would stick to plans to pull out the remaining force of 40,000 by the end of the year.
“The last American soldier will cross the border out of Iraq with their heads held high, proud of their success and knowing that the American people stand united in our support for our troops,” said the president.
Reaction in the US has been mixed. There have been warnings of a power vacuum once American troops leave Iraq. That is not the concern of some combat veterans in California, who welcomed the news.
“I think that’s great, honestly. It’s been a long-fought, hard war. We’re very proud of what we’ve done and accomplished and it’s great to have our boys back home,” said Lance Corporal Angelo Padina of the US Marines.
Obama’s announcement marks a major milestone eight years after the Bush administration led the invasion to topple Saddam Hussein.
The withdrawal helps the US president fulfill his election promise – and may also aid Iraq’s divided coalition government, which includes politicians fiercely opposed to foreign troops.