US Marines are poised to withdraw their last 4,000 men from Iraq, handing over operations formally to the US Army. In October of 2008, there were around 25,000 Marines in Iraq.
Now, as Major General Tryon puts it, “Afghanistan is calling,” and tens of thousands of Marines are flocking to Afghanistan’s Helmand Province, facing growing violence and an increasingly hostile population.
In the meantime, the US will still have well over 100,000 troops in Iraq when the Marines leave, and it is not expected that any significant drawdowns will happen in Iraq until well after the March election.
President Obama has vowed to officially end “combat operations” in August, though officials concede that 50,000-75,000 troops will remain, and will continue to engage in combat, indefinitely past that date.
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