Iraq exit strategy

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In Iraq, It's Like the 'Surge' Never Happened

Al-Qaeda has killed thousands this year

(Newser) - Nine car bombs exploded in Baghdad yesterday, which, along with a suicide attack and other incidents killed at least 66 people, the AP reports—and, unfortunately, that didn't make it a particularly unusual day. The al-Qaeda affiliate group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria has been pummeling the country... More »

What's the US to Do After Exiting Iraq? Stay in Kuwait

13.5K soldiers will help secure the region: report

(Newser) - The US has no combat force in Iraq and a wary eye on Iran: What's a nervous country to do? Maintain a force in neighboring Kuwait, apparently. The AP obtained an advance copy of a congressional report by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, set to be released today, that... More »

CIA Readies Iraq Drawdown

With US military gone, spies will drop to 40% wartime level

(Newser) - The US military may have left Iraq six months ago, but the CIA is still there, at levels only slightly below its wartime high of 700 (when it was the biggest CIA office in the world). Now, however, the CIA is preparing to draw down significantly, to about 40% of... More »

With US Gone, Iraq Explodes

Violence rampant thanks to political crisis

(Newser) - Iraq has experienced a surge in violence since US troops left the country last month, with 327 people dying in explosions or assassinations by the Iraqi Ministry's official count. Bombings have hit Baghdad neighborhoods , Shiite pilgrims , and Sunni police, among other targets. "They are not arbitrary attacks. They... More »

It's Over: Iraq War Ends Today

Leon Panetta shuts down operation in quiet ceremony

(Newser) - Today's the day. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta declared the Iraq War over in a quiet ceremony in Baghdad, saying the conflict was worth the cost because it set Iraq on a path to democracy. After speeches, the flag of United States Force-Iraq was "cased"—furled around a... More »

Obama: 'Our War in Iraq Ends This Month'

President promises US will still have 'strong presence'

(Newser) - As the last 6,000 American troops prepare to leave Iraq by Dec. 31, President Obama today heralded the end of the divisive war—but issued a warning to the country's neighbors: The US will continue to have a "strong presence in the Middle East." He added,... More »

As US Leaves Iraq, It Eyes a Beefier Gulf Presence

US military looking to increase defense ties with states around region

(Newser) - The United States may be pulling out of Iraq by the end of 2011 , but that doesn't mean it's getting out of the Persian Gulf—in fact, the US military is looking to boost its combat presence in Kuwait and increase its military ties to Saudi Arabia, Kuwait,... More »

Hillary Clinton: Gadhafi Death a 'Great Relief'

Plus, John McCain, Michele Bachmann, Lindsey Graham, and Mitch McConnell

(Newser) - Add Hillary Clinton to the list of people not exactly choking back tears over Moammar Gadhafi's death: The secretary of state today said that while "no one wants to see any human being" meet such a grisly end, "I know what a great relief it was to... More »

In $3B Deal, Iraq to Buy Fighter Jets From US

But delivery likely won't happen til 2013, which could keep our troops on the hook

(Newser) - Iraq has signed an estimated $3 billion deal to buy 18 fighter jets from the United States, officials said today, in a crucial step to protect its airspace alone after years of relying on help from American pilots. But the F-16s aren't expected to arrive in Iraq until next... More »

Adm. Mullen: For Smooth Iraq Withdrawal, 'Now Is the Time'

Further delay of Iraq government's decision could jeopardize smooth transition

(Newser) - Iraq's indecision on whether to ask American forces to stay beyond the end of the year is pushing the US close to the point where a smooth, safe troop withdrawal will be jeopardized, the top US military officer said today upon arriving in the country. Adm. Mike Mullen said... More »

Iraq Wants US to Sell It 36 F-16s

Expanded deal is under discussion

(Newser) - As the Dec. 31 US troop withdrawal deadline looms, Iraq is looking to purchase as many as 36 US fighter jets and other air-defense systems. The purchase, which will cost billions, could help cement ties between Iraq and the US and, Washington hopes, keep Iran at bay. The move comes... More »

Panetta to Iraq: Decide on US Troop Extension

Defense secretary makes unannounced visit to Baghdad

(Newser) - Fresh from his visit to Afghanistan, the AP is reporting that Leon Panetta made a surprise appearance in Baghdad today. The newly minted defense chief is looking to press the Iraqis to get off the fence on whether they want residual US forces to remain in the country after... More »

Iraqi PM: US Troops Must Get Out by End of 2011

Maliki vows new government won't team up with Iran

(Newser) - US troops must stand by the plan to depart Iraq at the end of 2011, Iraq's PM tells the Wall Street Journal in a lengthy interview. Despite wide expectations that nine months of post-election turmoil would extend the US presence, “the last American soldier will leave Iraq” as scheduled,... More »

US Plans 2014 End to Afghan Combat

Phased withdrawal echoes Iraq exit strategy

(Newser) - The Obama administration has worked up a plan to complete the US combat mission in Afghanistan by 2014, gradually shifting security into the hands of Afghan troops, insiders tell the New York Times . The piecemeal strategy, which echoes the phased Iraq withdrawal, will be presented at a NATO meeting in... More »

Iraq Speech: O’Reilly Slams 'Boring Prof'

Pundits underwhelmed by 'grim' war-end speech

(Newser) - The verdicts are in on President Obama's Oval Office address to mark the end of major US combat operations in Iraq, and he apparently didn't please many people.
  • The president just wasn't entertaining enough for Bill O'Reilly. The president seemed like a "boring professor," the O'Reilly Factor host
... More »

Why We Shouldn't Leave Iraq

Doing so will only strengthen Iran

(Newser) - In tonight's speech on the end of combat operations in Iraq, Barack Obama has a chance to show that he’s finally learned something about geostrategy. “Of course, if he did, it would mean abandoning much of what he advocated during his election campaign,” writes John Bolton for... More »

Obama Hails End of Iraq Combat Ops

Withdrawal marks a campaign pledge fulfilled

(Newser) - President Obama today hailed the end of combat operations in Iraq, reports the AP, lauding Tuesday's milestone as a campaign promise fulfilled and another step toward Iraqi sovereignty. "As a candidate for this office, I pledged I would end this war. As president, that is what I am doing,... More »

America to Double Civilian Force in Iraq

Security contractors to swell to 7K

(Newser) - The US military may be rolling out of Iraq , but American civilians are not. To protect its outposts, the State Department plans to double the number of private security guards on the ground, finds the New York Times . As many as 7,000 guards will search for roadside bombs, fly... More »

McCain: Let's Slow Down the Iraq Withdrawal

Don't blow fragile democracy by decamping, he argues

(Newser) - In a bit of campaign deja vu, John McCain is pumping Iraq’s not yet counted March 7 election as “a triumph for Iraq—and for the United States”—and saying the US shouldn't be in a hurry to leave the country. In an op-ed piece in today’... More »

Hey, Obama: In Iraq Exit, Don't Forget Strategy

US withdrawal or not, the country still has 'geostrategic significance'

(Newser) - Iraq is centrally important to the Middle East region, and the Obama administration does the country and the world a disservice by focusing on troop withdrawal without considering the future, writes Henry Kissinger. “The outcome in Iraq will influence the psychological balance in the war against radical Islam, specifically... More »

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