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April 7, 2009

Commander-In-Chief Obama Visits Baghdad

president-obama-arrives-baghdad-4-7-9 President Obama made a surprise visit to Baghdad on Tuesday.   

Obama US Iraq  He landed at a well fortified Baghdad International Airport and his plan to visit Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki and President Jalal Talabani changed because visibility problems disrupted his plans to fly by helicopter to meet them in person.  

president-obama-baghdad-camp-victory-pm-jalal-talibani  PM Maliki changed his schedule and went to meet Obama at Camp Victory and President Obama spoke with Talabani by phone.

president-obama-baghdad-arrives-camp-victory  The main reason for President Obama’s visit was to visit our brave heros in Iraq.  While at Camp Victory he presented ten medals of valor to our soldiers.

Obama US Iraq  He met with American military personnel including the Commander General Ray Odierno — who met him at the airport. President Obama also planned to talk with local leaders about making political progress in Iraq.  

“Our men and women who are in harm’s way, either in Iraq or Afghanistan, deserve our utmost respect and appreciation,” press secretary Gibbs said.

Before President Obama arrived in Baghdad a car bomb exploded in the Shiite district of Khadamiyah, killing nine people. There were also six bombings in Baghdad on Monday.

Iraq is still weighed down with problems. Earlier this month, Sunni paramilitary fighters who had been allied with the U.S. clashed with Iraqi and American security forces in Baghdad and in northern Iraq, Kurdish-Arab tensions have increased with U.S. soldiers often caught in the middle as peacekeepers.

In addition, the last American ambassador, Ryan Crocker, left his post mid-February and the appointment of his successor, Christopher Hill, has been held up in the Senate.

Just before President Obama left Istanbul for Baghdad, the president told a group of university students that, even though he opposed the war in Iraq when it began, he now has a responsibility to remove combat troops in a careful way.

president-obama-baghdad-camp-victory-greet  President Obama said, “I opposed the war in Iraq, I thought it was a bad idea.  Now that we’re there, I have a responsibility to make sure that as we bring troops out that we do so in a careful enough way that we don’t see a complete collapse into violence.”

president-obama-baghdad-camp-victory-commander-in-chief  Obama US Iraq

July 21, 2008

Monday: Senator Obama Arrives In Baghdad, Iraq

  Senator Barack Obama arrived in Iraq early Monday morning under heavy security.  Iraq is still not safe or back to ‘normal’ since the average person cannot go for a stroll to the market without encountering some type of violence. Fifty people died in two separate twin suicide bombings just last week. Schools still aren’t open and most citizens still don’t have electricity or running water in their homes. Even with all the current violence – Iraq is at its lowest violence levels since 2004. 

One of Senator Obama first stops was to meet with Prime Minister Nouri Maliki, in the ‘Green Zone’ where the Iraqi government is headquartered.  Details of the meeting have not been made available – as yet.

Obama will also meet with President Jalal Talabani as well as the top US military commanders in Iraq including General David Petraeus.

One of Senator Obama goal is to withdraw combat troops from Iraq in a responsible manner but he says he is prepared to be flexible on details, and could leave some troops behind for special tasks, such as training Iraqi forces and dealing with any dwindling al-Qaeda forces.

Obama also wants Iraq to assume main responsibility for their security, according to Susan Rice, one of his senior foreign policy advisors. “We cannot sustain the current high levels of deployment in Iraq indefinitely… without breaking our military,” she said.

“Nor can we maintain them at high levels in permanent bases with the agreement of the Iraqi government because they’ve been quite clear that they don’t want that.”

Last week President Maliki and US President George W Bush said they had agreed to set a “time horizon” for the withdrawal as part of a security pact still being negotiated.

Before leaving the US, Obama said that some of the troops withdrawn from Iraq (2 brigades, about 7,000) will be sent to Afghanistan to reinforce efforts there against a resurgent Taliban and to help manage increasing violence.

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