US Troops to be Mostly out of Iraq by Mid-December

The vast majority of US forces will be out of Iraq by mid-December, Army Maj. Gen. Thomas Spoehr, deputy commanding general of US Forces-Iraq, told reporters last week. However, officials are not releasing a more detailed breakdown of the withdrawal, citing security concerns for those troops left in theater. At the height of operations in Iraq, there were 165,000 people operating from 505 bases. Today, there are less than 34,000 people operating from just 12 bases, said Spoehr. “We are deep in the midst of this. So, there are trucks and planes and people moving very quickly, at a high rate of speed throughout Iraq to execute our commitments [to withdraw by Dec. 31],” he said during a briefing with reporters Nov. 3. “This, I should emphasize, though, is not a rush to the exits. So, it’s a measured plan which ensures our continued force protection at every step of the operation.” Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki is scheduled to visit the White House Dec. 12, to discuss the “deepening” and “comprehensive strategic partnership” between the US and Iraq, announced the White House Nov. 4. (Spoehr transcript)