America

Obama: 'War In Iraq Is Over'; All Troops Will Withdraw By Year's End

President Barack Obama announces the end to US military operations in Iraq. i i

President Barack Obama announces the end to US military operations in Iraq.

Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images
President Barack Obama announces the end to US military operations in Iraq.

President Barack Obama announces the end to US military operations in Iraq.

Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

President Obama announced today that the war in Iraq was over.

"After nearly nine years, the long war in Iraq will come to an end by the end of this year," the president said. President Obama said he talked to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki earlier today and they were both in complete agreement about how to proceed. Obama said that "as promised" by the end of the year all troops will withdraw from the country.

He said that this means the relationship between Iraq and the United States will now be a normal one "between sovereign nations. An equal partnership based on mutual interests and mutual respect."

He added: "Our troops in Iraq will definitely be home for the holidays."

The announcement comes after the two countries failed to reach an agreement that, The Washington Post says, "would have left several thousand troops there for special operations and training."

The main issue discussed by the two countries was whether Iraq would grant the remaining U.S. troops legal immunity. As Defense News reports, Iraq said "that although they backed a U.S. training mission post-2011, there was 'no need' for such protection." That created an impasse.

During a press briefing, following the president's announcement, Denis McDonough, the White House's deputy national security adviser, talked about the conversation between the president and the Iraqi Prime Minister. McDonough said the president made clear that the U.S. needs to maintain some security presence to protect diplomatic assets. That's about 150 troops to guard the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and the thousands of diplomats across the country.

McDonough also said that about 4,000 to 5,000 security contractors will be left behind and that the U.S. has the ability to maintain "trainers" to support Iraqi security forces.

We live blogged the president's statement and that follows:

Update at 1:30 p.m. ET. Full Audio Of Obama's Statement:

President Obama From The White House

Update at 12:53 p.m. ET. 'The Tide Of War Is Receding...'

President Obama said this statement makes a broader statement. "The tide of war is receding," he said.

Update at 12:50 p.m. ET. Sovereign Nations:

President Obama said he talked to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and they were both in complete agreement about how to proceed. Obama said that "as promised" by the end of the year all troops will withdraw from the country.

He said that this means the relationship between Iraq and the United States will now be a normal one between two sovereign countries.

He added: "Our troops in Iraq will definitely be home for the holidays."

Update at 12:48 p.m. ET. 'The Rest Of Our Troops Will Come Home'

President Obama says that after nearly nine years, "The long war in Iraq will come to an end by the end of this year."

Update at 12:46 p.m. ET. All Troops Will Withdraw:

Multiple news organizations are reporting that President Obama will announce that all American troops will be out of Iraq by the end of the year. The announcement would announce that after eight years, the war in Iraq would be over.

Our Original Post Continues:

President Obama is expected to make a statement shortly about the number of U.S. troops who will stay in Iraq beyond 2011. According to the AP, the president's statement will follow a video conference with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

The AP adds:

Obama's announcement may close off the possibility of maintaining a U.S. military presence in Iraq beyond a Dec. 31 withdrawal deadline set in 2008.

It would also mean that after eight years of war in Iraq, Obama would be making good on his promise to wind down the conflict.

More than 4,400 American military members have been killed since the U.S. invaded Iraq in March 2003.

We will live blog the president's statement. So watch this post for updates.

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