The United States has officially handed formal control of its largest military base in Iraq to the Iraqi government. The transfer of Camp Victory marks the latest step in the U.S. withdrawal from Iraq by the end of the month. The Obama administration announced the pullout earlier this year after the Iraqi government refused to grant U.S. troops immunity for a longer stay. At a ceremony marking the handover of Camp Victory, Vice President Joe Biden praised the U.S. troops stationed in Iraq.
Vice President Joe Biden: “All of you sitting before me today have laid the foundation for a long-term strategic partnership between our nations, and also for an Iraq that, against all odds, can serve as a source of stability, not only for its people, but here in the region and for years to come. I think it’s fair to say almost no one thought that was possible a few years ago.”
Despite the withdrawal, the U.S. is leaving behind thousands of private contractors. U.S. troops are expected to be stationed in nearby Gulf states and could ultimately return under the rubric of “military training” for the Iraqi army.