Vice President Joe Biden in Iraq for talks as US military presence winds down

VP Biden: US troop departure marks new beginning with Iraq, Sadrists protest his presence

The Washington Post
November 29, 2011

Vice President Joe Biden said Wednesday that his trip to Baghdad ahead of the U.S. military pullout marks a new beginning between Iraq and the United States, but protests in Iraq against his visit demonstrated the difficulties the relationship will face.

Biden arrived Tuesday in a surprise visit to Iraq at a pivotal time as the last of the American troops withdraw, and the U.S. must establish a new relationship with a country that is home to billions of barrels of oil and more closely aligned with neighboring Iran than the U.S. would like.

In comments surrounding his meetings with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, Biden stressed that the U.S. and Iraq will continue to have a relationship long after the American troops have left the country.

“Our troops are leaving Iraq, and we are working on a new path together, a new face of this partnership,” he added. “This is marking a new beginning of the relationship that will not only benefit the United States of America and Iraq. I believe it will benefit the region and will benefit the world.”

Biden said that people in both countries have had to overcome misperceptions about the relationship. He said people in the U.S. still ask whether it is worth it to spend so much energy and money in Iraq, a country where 4,485 American military personnel have died and tens of thousands of Iraqis have been killed. …

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