Since the July 1 pullback from Iraqi cities, American troops are finding themselves under virtual “house arrest,” being blocked from entering Baghdad without an Iraqi escort and with the Iraqi military dramatically curtailing their ability to conduct nighttime raids.
Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said the move was “a measure of our success,” though troops on the ground expressed anger at having to ask for Iraqi permission where once they were given free rein, and rising tensions between US and Iraqi troops are reported.
The transition has not been an easy one for the US, though Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is hoping to use the perception of greater Iraqi control over the nation as a springboard for his re-election campaign later this year. Maliki is currently visiting the US.
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