Staff and Associated Press Reports
WASHINTON -- President Barack Obama on Friday declared an end to the Iraq war, one of the longest and most divisive conflicts in U.S. history, announcing that all U.S. troops would be withdrawn from the country by year's end.
"Today I can say that our troops in Iraq will definitely be home for the holidays," Obama said in the White House briefing room, "the long war in Iraq will come to an end by the end of this year."
Ahead of his announcement, a White House aide said "the partnership between the U.S. and Iraq will be a normal one between two sovereign nations."
President Obama's statement put an end to months of wrangling over whether the U.S. would maintain a force in Iraq beyond 2011.
"After nearly nine years," the president, "America's war in Iraq will be over."
President Obama spoke at the White House after a private video conference with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, and he offered assurances that the two leaders agreed on the decision.
The American withdrawal by the end of 2011 was sealed in a deal between the two countries when George W. Bush was president. Mr. Obama declared the end of the combat mission earlier this year.