Updated at 4:01 p.m. EST, Feb. 27, 2009
The official plans for
a U.S. drawdown in Iraq were announced this morning, just as the military revealed
that enemy fire brought down two U.S. helicopters last month, and President Obama
announced his new
ambassador to the country. One
U.S. soldier died yesterday in Baghdad. Otherwise, the prayer day was
fairly quiet. At least five Iraqis were killed and four more were wounded
in the latest attacks.
U.S. President Barack Obama spoke
to the American people this morning. In his speech, he described a 19-month timetable
for the withdrawal of U.S. combat troops from across Iraq. The risks
of a speedy withdrawal could have weighed heavily in the president's decision
to break his presidential
campaign promise.The August 2010 date is three months later than promised
and also allows up to 50,000 servicemen to remain behind in support roles. The
both former U.S. President George Bush and current Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri
al-Maliki. Republican candidate for president, Sen. John McCain praised
the change in President Obama's plans.
Most combat troops will have left
Iraqi cities by June of this year as agreed
to in a U.S.-Iraqi SOFA pact that was signed last year. Some will remain in support
positions; however, the SOFA pact calls for the removal of all troops by the end
of 2011, unless the current administration renegotiates with the Iraqis. Defense
Secrety Robert Gates is pleased with the plan, but he would also like some troops
after the SOFA deadline. The president also reassured
Iraq that the U.S. has no territorial claims. Back in Iraq, there was mixed
reaction to the plan.
U.S. officials admitted
that enemy fire brought down two helicopters in northern Iraq last month. Four
Americans were killed in the crash. At first the military believed that the crash
was accidental, but a subsequent investigation revealed that the helicopters had
been evading enemy fire when they collided. Yesterday, a U.S.
soldier died from wounds received during combat in Baghdad. Also, a U.S.
military vehicle struck an I.E.D. near Amara, but no
casualties were reported.
In Mosul, a roadside bomb wounded
two Iraqi soldiers in Mosul. A kidnapping gang was captured.
Yesterday, a bomb near a police officer's home wounded
him and a civilian.
Gunmen staged a small arms attack on an Awakening
Council (Sahwa) checkpoint in Hawija. Two
Sahwa members were killed and another two were wounded.
bearing gunshot wounds was discovered in Tal Keef.
bearing gunshot wounds was found near Saidiya.
bearing torture marks was fished out of a river in Suwayra. The irrigation
systmem in Suwayra often catches bodies that float down river from miles away.
Also, a Turkish military spokesman said
that about 20 Kurdish rebels killed each other during infighting in northern Iraq.
The area in question is sparsely population, so any reports coming from there
are often subject to inaccuracies and can be filled with propaganda from either
Compiled by Margaret Griffis