World News Brief, Thursday September 2

Obama ends Iraq war stressing "huge price" paid by US as al-Maliki hails Iraqi freedom (+ analysis); Greens do deal with Gillard; Chinese manufacturing rebounds, easing Asian economic fears; Four dead as Hamas targets peace talks; and more

Top of the Agenda: Obama Declares End to Iraq Combat

US President Barack Obama declared the end of the US combat mission in Iraq (WashPost) in an Oval Office speech. Obama emphasized the "huge price" the United States paid in the conflict, which lasted for more than seven years, resulted in the deaths of 4,400 of the 1.5 million troops who served there, and cost $740 billion. Obama called former president George W. Bush before the speech and emphasized bipartisanship in the war effort, noting that the "greatness of our democracy" was "our ability to move beyond differences" to "confront the many challenges ahead." He shifted from remarks on withdrawing combat troops to the war in Afghanistan and the economy, making clear he intends to begin disengaging from Afghanistan next summer (NYT). The tone of the speech was modest and embraced the surge in Iraq by drawing parallels to the escalation in Afghanistan (Politico).

Many Iraqis questioned the decision of the United States to leave the country without a government or a secure state. In a national address Tuesday, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki hailed the US departure as "a landmark in the Iraqi people's long, hard struggle for freedom and dignity" and said Iraq "today is independent" (LAT).


A Wall Street Journal blog compares the reactions to Obama's speech from the Weekly Standard, the New Republic, the Atlantic, and the Daily Beast.

A New York Times editorial said "there was no victory to declare last night, and Mr. Obama was right not to try."

In an interview with, veteran journalist Jane Arraf says Iraqis worry that political stalemate, widespread corruption, and weak domestic security forces will plague their country if the US pulls out completely next year.


Read the text of Obama's Oval Office address.


PACIFIC RIM: End Nears for Australian PM Deadlock

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard won support from the country's Greens Party for her bid for another three-year term, bringing the country closer to ending its first parliamentary deadlock in seventy years (Guardian).

China: Chinese manufacturing rebounded in August, easing fears about weakness in other Asian economies, but analysts remain concerned about the yuan's continued weakness (EconomicTimes) against the US dollar.



- Hamas targets Israeli-Palestinian Talks
- France Defends Roma Policy to EU


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