December 13, 2011 |
With the last U.S. troops set to depart Iraq, President Obama on Monday welcomed a new phase of "equal partnership" with the Iraqi government, even as both sides admit uncertainty about how that will work. "We're here to mark the end of this war," Obama said, appearing alongside Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki at the White House, and to "begin a new chapter in the history between our countries — a normal relationship between sovereign nations. " The Obama administration faces a host of challenges in postwar Iraq, where the role of the U.S. military in providing future training and assistance for security forces has yet to be defined, beyond both leaders saying it was vital to Iraq's long-term stability.
September 11, 2011 |
Prime Minister Nouri Maliki on Saturday accepted the resignation of Iraq's top corruption fighter, whom some observers labeled a casualty of political infighting in a country where graft is rampant. Raheem Uqaili, the chairman of the independent watchdog Integrity Commission, had drawn admirers and detractors alike for taking on cases targeting key figures in the Defense Ministry and other government agencies. A statement by Maliki's office said that "based on the wishes of the chairman of the Integrity Commission," the prime minister had accepted the request to step down.
July 31, 2011 |
Prime Minister Nouri Maliki announced Saturday that Iraq plans to buy 36 U.S. fighter jets, signaling his intent to seek a long-term American military training presence in the country. But in an indication of the risks for the American military here, a U.S. watchdog group said that Iraq had become more hazardous. "Iraq remains an extraordinarily dangerous place to work," Stuart Bowen, chief of the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction, said in a report. "It is less safe, in my judgment, than 12 months ago. " The report notes that 44 Iraqi government and security officials have been assassinated since April.
July 27, 2011 |
In an illustration of its growing muscle in Iraq as U.S. influence wanes, anti-American cleric Muqtada Sadr's movement has won pardons for at least 50 prisoners jailed for crimes including murder, kidnapping and attacks on U.S. troops. The amnesties come at a time when U.S. forces remaining in Iraq have faced an increased number of attacks, many by Shiite Muslim militias associated with the Sadr movement. And they have angered some senior Iraqi officials, who charge that the law is being applied selectively and bent to fit a hidden political agenda.
July 11, 2011 |
Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta said Sunday that weapons supplied by Iran are behind a rash of attacks against American forces in Iraq, part of an escalating campaign of violence ahead of the planned U.S. troop withdrawal by the end of the year. "We're seeing more of those weapons going in from Iran, and they've really hurt us," said Panetta, who arrived in Baghdad on an unannounced visit after a two-day stop in Afghanistan. U.S. officials said 15 U.S. troops were killed in June, the most in any month in two years.
May 12, 2011 |
Six months after agreeing to form a national unity government, Prime Minister Nouri Maliki and his secular rival Iyad Allawi are again exchanging insults and cannot agree on such basic issues as who should run the nation's police and army. The rift, though unlikely to send Iraq back into sectarian violence, does have Iraqi and Western analysts concerned that the country will continue on a dysfunctional path as American troops move to complete their withdrawal by year's end, nearly nine years after the invasion that ousted Saddam Hussein.