Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has declared tomorrow — Tuesday, June 30th — a national holiday. That’s the deadline for American combat troops to be out of Iraq’s cities.
Maliki has pushed hard for this pullout. He says Iraq’s own army and police will keep the country secure. His political future depends on it.
But questions remain about whether Iraq’s security forces are up to the task. Violence is ratcheting up. A lot of power is at stake. And the U.S. is shifting its focus to the fight in Afghanistan.
This hour, On Point: U.S. combat troops out of Iraqi cities — and where that leaves Iraqis.
Joining us in our studio is Anthony Shadid, Baghdad bureau chief for The Washington Post. He first reported from Iraq in 1998 and won the Pulitzer Prize in 2004 for his coverage of the Iraq war. He’s the author of “Night Draws Near: Iraq’s People in the Shadow of America’s War” (2005).
Joining us from Baghdad is Sahar Issa, an Iraqi correspondent for McClatchy newspapers based in Baghdad. See McClatchy’s Inside Iraq blog, written by Iraqi journalists working for McClatchy Newspapers in Iraq.