On February 27th, 2009, U.S. President Barack Obama announced his plan to end U.S. combat missions in Iraq by the end of August 2010, and to withdraw the last U.S. troops by December 2011. "The United States will pursue a new strategy to end the war in Iraq through a transition to full Iraqi responsibility. This strategy is grounded in a clear and achievable goal shared by the Iraqi people and the American people: an Iraq that is sovereign, stable, and self-reliant."
The United States is working alongside the Iraqis to help realize these goals. Stability is not possible without security, so the U.S. has been training Iraq's military, beginning with a single battalion in 2004. Now the training is done by 3 Iraqi battalions, and the Iraqi army is at the front of the fight against the militants.
With basic security improved, the U.S. and the Government of Iraq are working to build a civilian-led police development program that will train senior civilian police officials on dealing with issues such as strategic planning, management, budgeting, advanced investigatory skills and fighting corruption. The U.S. will also expand its justice programs to assist the Government of Iraq in strengthening its criminal justice system.
Beginning on October 1st, 2011, as U.S. military forces slowly withdraw from Iraq, the full responsibility for police training will transfer to the Government of Iraq and the U.S. Department of State.
But the most important component necessary to build a prosperous, well-respected member of the community of nations rests in the hands of the Iraqi people; and that is a stable government. The recent national election has ended in a virtual tie between the two major political coalitions, the Iraqiya and the State of Law blocs. Both are far short of the 163 seats needed to form a majority government.
"The United States does not support a particular party or candidate," said U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in a written statement. " As a friend and partner, the United States calls upon Iraq’s leaders to set aside their differences, respect the courageous ballots of the Iraqi people, and to form quickly a government that is inclusive and represents the will of all Iraqis and their hope for a brighter future in a strong, independent and democratic Iraq."