Iraq: Post-Saddam Governance and Security
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS WASHINGTON DC CONGRESSIONAL RESEARCH SERVICE
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As it took office, the Obama Administration was presented with a security environment in Iraq that is vastly improved over that which prevailed during 2005-2007. The turnaround has been widely attributed to the troop surge announced by President Bush on January 10, 2007 New Way Forward. Recent Defense Department reports assess that overall violence is down at least 65 from late 2007 levels, to levels not seen since 2004. A major issue is that President Obama has indicated that stabilizing Afghanistan should be a higher priority for the United States than Iraq. On February 27, 2009, President Obama announced that all U.S. combat brigades would be withdrawn by August 31, 2010, leaving a residual presence of 35,000 - 50,000 U.S. trainers, advisers, and mentors, although some might still be in combat in some circumstances. The drawdown was a product of discussions with U.S. commanders who say that a continued U.S. presence is required to promote further political progress and produce a unified, democratic Iraq that can govern and defend itself and is an ally in the war on terror. A U.S.-Iraq status of forces agreement SOFA, ratified by Iraqs parliament on November 27, 2008, mandates a complete U.S. withdrawal by the end of 2011, although it is possible that this time frame could be renegotiated if President Obama decides a U.S. presence is still needed to secure Iraq.
- Government and Political Science
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