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Obama to bring Iraq forces home

President Barack Obama yesterday announced the US combat mission in Iraq would end as scheduled this month, leaving a transitional force of 50,000 that in turn will be out of the country by December 31, 2011.

“As a candidate to the Presidency, I pledged to bring the war in Iraq to a responsible end,” President Obama told a gathering of disabled war veterans in Atlanta. “And that's exactly what we are doing, as promised and on schedule.”

Mr Obama's words came despite an apparently deteriorating security picture in Iraq fuelled by

continued political deadlock that has prevented formation of a new government in Baghdad since inconclusive elections in March.

There has also been mixed progress in the training of Iraqi forces. But Mr Obama was undaunted. Internal violence, he insisted, was near its lowest level since the US-led invasion of 2003.

“We have closed or turned over hundreds of bases and moved millions of pieces of equipment out of the country,” he said.

“Make no mistake, we haven't seen the end of our sacrifices in Iraq,” he said, but added the mission was about to change.

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