In spite of concerns that the withdrawal date would be extended yet again, Barack Obama has announced that all U.S. troops will leave Iraq by the end of 2011.
"As promised, the rest of our troops in Iraq will come home by the end of the year. After nearly nine years, America's war in Iraq will be over," Obama announced this afternoon. "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. That is how America's military efforts in Iraq will end."
Obama said that he had come to a mutual agreement with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki about moving in a "new phase" involving a "normal relationship with sovereign nations," though Iraqi officials have privately said they would prefer to keep a U.S. troop presence in the country.
Obama added, "Today I can say that our troops in Iraq will definitely be home for the holidays."