National Sovereignty Day in Iraq
Iraqi forces have assumed formal control of security in Baghdad and other cities after U.S. combat troops withdrew from urban areas. A countdown clock broadcast on Iraqi TV ticked to zero as the midnight deadline passed for combat troops to pull back.
Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has declared a public holiday and proclaimed June 30 as “National Sovereignty Day.”
A senior adviser to al-Maliki says “the withdrawal of American troops is completed now from all cities after everything they sacrificed for the sake of security.” Sadiq Al-Rikabi told The Associated Press on Tuesday that “we are now celebrating the restoration of sovereignty.”
This doesn't mean we're done there. We're still working on training more Iraqi military and security recruits, but we're not taking point on any engagements against terrorists. That's the job of the Iraqi military and security forces now, and according to US military commanders they're ready.
Congratulations to the people of Iraq for fulfilling their goal of control of their country, and standing on their own two feet. Congratulations to the US military for a job well done. And a special thanks to the Iraqi people for the respect they have shown to the troops, and for recognizing their sacrifice on their behalf.
Today is a day to celebrate. So when you crack open that cold one today or on the Fourth of July, remember what you're celebrating. You're celebrating freedom, courtesy of the United States of America.