World News Brief, Friday December 16

US declares Iraq war officially over, prepares to open largest US embassy in world; Over 100,000 Iraqis and 4,5000 US soldiers killed in conflict (+ timeline and analysis); Govt promises "punishment" after revolt in China over land seizures; Mexico tells off US and Europe as it takes over G20 rule; Human Rights Watch says Syrian commanders ordered "shoot to kill"; DRC opposition wants protect to protect election win; and more

Top of the Agenda: US Officially Ends Iraq War

The US military officially declared an end to the nine-year-old war in Iraq at a ceremony in Baghdad (NYT) that was attended by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. The United States will close its last two military bases in the country and withdraw its remaining four thousand combat troops by December 31. However, a few hundred military personnel and Pentagon civilians will stay in Baghdad to work within an Office of Security Cooperation at the US embassy.

At the same time, the United States is ramping up its diplomatic presence (al-Jazeera). The Baghdad embassy is expected to be the largest US embassy in the world with between fifteen thousand and sixteen thousand people.

Thursday's ceremony formally cased the American flag (BBC) at US headquarters, which will be returned to the United States. Approximately forty five-hundred US soldiers and over a hundred-thousand Iraqis were killed during the conflict.


CFR's Stephen Biddle discusses the increasing emphasis on non-military ties between the United States and Iraq in this CFR Video.

This CFR Timeline offers an interactive slideshow detailing events since the US invasion of Iraq in 2003.

As the United States leaves Iraq, the war is not over, nor is the country or the region stable, argues this Guardian editorial.

The United States has not done enough to win the peace in Iraq, argues this Wall Street Journal editorial.



Revolt in Southern Chinese City Continues

The southern Chinese farming village of Wukan continued an open revolt against local government over land seizures, as police blocked food and water from entering the village and government officials vowed to "severely punish" (Telegraph) rebel leaders.

CHINA: A US satellite company said it photographed China's first aircraft carrier (BBC)--a refitted Soviet vessel--during a trial run in the Yellow Sea, amid growing regional concerns over China's military buildup.



Mexico takes over G20 with sterns words for US and EU

Syrian commanders ordered killings, claims HRW

Congo Opposition calls for mass protest


This is an excerpt of the Daily News Brief. The full version is available on