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Flag of Iraq
  1. Iraq Main Page
  2. Iraq Gains Independence
  3. Rise of the Baath Party
  4. Saddam Hussein's Ascendancy Brings Series of Wars
  5. The UN Steps In With Sanctions and Weapons Inspections
  6. The U.S. Launches War in Iraq
  7. With No Evidence of Weapons in Iraq, Bush Calls Iraq the Focal Point of War on Terror
  8. War Does Little to Improve Infrastructure or Security in Iraq
  9. Insurgency Gathers Steam
  10. Iraqi Leadership Struggles in Effort to Form a Government
  11. U.S. Strategy Under Fire
  12. President Bush Hopes Surge of U.S. Troops Will Change Course of War
  13. Iraqi Parliament Gets Down to Business
  14. Iraqi Government Shows Signs of Stability
  15. U.S. Role Diminishes in Iraq
  16. Political Veterans Fare Well in Parliamentary Elections
  17. War in Iraq Is Officially Over
  18. Political Unrest and Violence Continue
U.S. Role Diminishes in Iraq

In February, President Obama announced his intention to withdraw most American troops from Iraq by August 31, 2010. As many as 50,000 troops, however, will remain there for smaller missions and to train Iraqi soldiers. On June 30, in compliance with the status of forces agreement between the U.S. and Iraq, U.S. troops completed their withdrawal from Iraqi cities and transferred the responsibility of securing the cities to Iraqi troops. Prime Minister Maliki declared June 30 a public holiday called "National Sovereignty Day." The number of suicide bombings had increased in the weeks leading up to the U.S. withdrawal of troops, which raised doubts about the timing of the move.

Two car bombs exploded near the Green Zone in Baghdad on October 25, killing at least 155 people and wounding 700. It was the deadliest attack in Iraq since April 2007. The Islamic State in Iraq, a group linked to al-Qaeda, claimed responsibility. The group has vowed to destabilize the government and disrupt parliamentary elections scheduled for January 2010. Further withdrawal of U.S. combat troops is contingent upon a smooth election process.

Parliament's continued failure to pass an election law also threatened to derail the vote. After missing several deadlines, Parliament approved compromise legislation in November. The main points of contention were whether to have candidates listed by name or political party, and which voter registration list to use in Kirkuk: one from 2005 that included more Arabs and Turkmens, or 2009's, which represented a higher number of Kurds. (Saddam Hussein had expelled tens of thousands of Kurds from Kirkuk and relocated Arabs and Turkmens into the region. After his fall, Kurds returned, and the demographic of the region shifted once again.) Parliament agreed to use the 2009 roll, with oversight by the UN, and Arabs and Turkmens will each be granted an additional seat in Parliament. In addition, legislators also agreed to allow candidates' names to appear on ballots.

Five bombs killed at least 120 people and wounded some 400 at or near government buildings in Baghdad in December 2009. The Islamic State of Iraq al-Qaeda said it carried out the attacks. Authorities suspect that the Sunni insurgents were attempting to discourage cooperation between Shia and Sunnis and destablize the country in the weeks leading up to March's parliamentary elections.

Next: Political Veterans Fare Well in Parliamentary Elections
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