US Hands Anbar Province to Iraqis

Military cedes control of largest region in Iraq
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 1, 2008 6:30 AM CDT
People shop at a market in downtown Fallujah, in Iraq's Anbar province.   (AP Photo/Kim Gamel)
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(Newser) – The American military is finally handing over control of Anbar province, once the center of the Sunni insurgency, to Iraqi forces today. Once one of Iraq's most dangerous regions, Anbar was transformed as Sunni militants allied themselves with the US. The transfer of Anbar, delayed several times, brings the number of provinces under Iraqi control to 11 out of 18, reports the BBC.

More than 25% of all American solders killed in Iraq died in Anbar province, the country's largest. While the handover represents a major milestone for security in the country, the American military remains concerned that the area's Sunni tribal leaders may not work together with the central government in Baghdad. US troop levels in Anbar will decline, one commander tells the BBC, though not immediately.