Iraq to Pull Iraqi Troops Out of Iraq

BAGHDAD — Bowing to increasing public pressure, the Iraqi Defense Ministry announced that it would pull all Iraqi troops out of Iraq by the end of 2006.

Iraq joins Australia, Britain, Italy, Spain, South Korea and Japan as nations that have withdrawn some or all of their troops from Iraq in recent months. Iraq had been a key U.S. ally in the Iraq war since 2004. Previously, it had been a key U.S. enemy in the Iraq war.

Public opinion polls have shown a steady deterioration of public support for the Iraq war among Iraqis.

“It’s disheartening to step out on the front porch to pick up the newspaper every morning and reading about our boys in danger,” said Razim al-Salam, a Baghdad resident. “Even more disheartening is to step out on the front porch to pick up the newspaper every morning and getting eviscerated by a mortar round.”

Some Iraqis said they feel like they were misled by the U.S. administration into sending troops into a conflict that really did not concern them.

“When President Bush said we had weapons of mass destruction and were providing material support to terrorists, then of course we felt obligated to step in to stop ourselves. Turns out, we were just minding our own business, starving and being oppressed,” said Ali Rafsanjani, editor of the influential political journal Yep, We’re Screwed.

There has been some good news for the U.S. in its efforts to maintain international support for the Iraq war, however. While many traditional U.S. allies have removed or drawn down their military contingents in the country, other nations, specifically Syria and Iran, have been sending increasing numbers of armed fighters into the conflict.

Darrin Pack

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