U.S. Withdrawal from Iraq Cities Greeted with Celebration and Hope
Interview with Raed Jarrar, consultant of the American Friends Service Committee's Iraq Program, conducted by Scott Harris
When U.S. combat troops pulled out of Iraq's cities and towns on June 30, as stipulated in the Status of Forces agreement signed by former President George Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki in November 2008, many Iraqi citizens celebrated the milestone in the streets. But about 130,000 American soldiers remain in the country, with the timeline for their complete withdrawal set for the end of 2011. Another 132,000 military contractors, 36,000 of whom are American citizens, also remain deployed across Iraq.
According to recent public opinion polls published in the Brookings Institution's Iraq Index, 73 percent of Iraqis oppose the presence of coalition forces. If voters reject the Status of Forces timetable for withdrawal in a scheduled national referendum set for July 30, U.S. troops could be forced to leave Iraq more quickly.
Iraqi opposition and insurgent groups, including www.countdowntowithdrawal.org
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