US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has declared an end to US involvement in Iraq, attending a ceremony to formally take down the US flag and signal the start of US troops returning to America. But will ‘peace’ in the country last, especially if the US eventually returns to attack Iran?
The end of America’s occupation of Iraq marks the culmination of nearly a decade of violence. The decision to bring the troops home has been criticised by some as arbitrary, given that the security situation in the country remains perilous. Some believe Iraq will prosper once US troops have left, but others fear the country will fragment.
More than 100,000 Iraqi citizens died during the war, and nearly 5,000 US soldiers were killed with many more being seriously injured. Iraq is now likely to fade from the western public consciousness, at least until the whole thing flares up again.