US Marines Leave Iraq

by Daniel Russ on January 23, 2010

US Marines 2nd Light Armored Recon, 2005

RAMADI, Iraq — The U.S. Marine Corps wrapped up nearly seven years in Iraq on Saturday, handing over duties to the Army and signaling the beginning of an accelerated withdrawal of American troops as the U.S. turns its focus away from the waning Iraqi war to a growing one in Afghanistan.

In Baghdad, meanwhile, Vice President Joe Biden held talks with Iraqi leaders amid rising tensions over plans to ban election candidates because of suspected links to Saddam Hussein’s regime.

The White House worries the bans could raise questions over the fairness of the March 7 parliamentary elections, which are seen as an important step in the American pullout timetable and breaking political stalemates over key issues such as dividing Iraq’s oil revenue.

The Marines formally handed over control of Sunni-dominated Anbar, Iraq’s largest province, to the Army during a ceremony at a base in Ramadi – where some of the fiercest fighting of the war took place.

Iraqi and American color guards stood together at attention as both countries’ national anthems were played by a U.S. military band.”

Source: AP

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