August 31, 2010
Barack Obama, the US president, said in a message this weekend that Iraq would “chart its own course” as US combat operations come to an end. This may have been welcome news for war-weary Americans, but it has fuelled anxieties about the future among Iraqis.
Meeting the August 31 deadline allows Obama to say he is fulfilling a pledge to end the war launched by George Bush, his predecessor, seven years ago.
However, some 50,000 US troops will remain until the end of 2011 to advise Iraqi security forces in combat missions and protect US interests – in what Washington is calling an “advisory and support” role.
But the failure of Iraqi leaders to form a new government almost six months after elections, and persistent attacks by insurgents, have done little to instill confidence among Iraqis.
Overall violence in Iraq has fallen sharply since the peak in 2006-07 of the sectarian killings unleashed after the 2003 US-led invasion, but levels of violence remain high.
Al Jazeera’s Mike Hanna reports from Baghdad on Iraqis who are left wondering what the future will bring.