|Iraqis have mixed reactions to the US withdrawl – some worry about security while others welcome an end to what they describe as the US occupation of their country [GALLO/GETTY]|
After nearly nine years of a bloody and chaotic occupation, the US military is officially withdrawing from Iraq. According to a study published in the Lancet Medical Journal, the only scientific survey that has been carried out with the aim of tallying Iraqi casualties, 655,000 Iraqis have been killed as a result of the US-led invasion, and more than three million have been displaced from their homes, both internally and externally.
Complaints about government services are also common. According to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP):
– 90 per cent of Iraqi households supplement their electricity with private generators
– 59 per cent of Iraqis rate their households facility as “bad” or “very bad”, rising to 85 per cent in rural areas
– Two out of three Iraqis have a negative opinion of Iraqi health services
– 75 per cent of Iraqis feel the most pressing need of the country is to reduce poverty
On the US side, around 4,500 US soldiers have been killed, with more than 32,000 wounded. The invasion cost at least $750bn, and the international reputation of the US has been damaged.
Al Jazeera asked Iraqis from across the country for their opinion of the US withdrawal.
|Haider Elaiwi, an accountant at Maysan University, Amara city in southern Iraq|
At the present, I am against the idea of withdrawal of US troops from Iraq as the Iraqi politicians are inexperienced and do not seem loyal to their country.
On the other hand, the security forces are fragile and infiltrated, and therefore could not be entrusted to protect Iraq. We should think wisely about the presence of US troops so Iraq would not be occupied again by Iran, Turkey and Saudi Arabia.
|Ismail Lateef, a former Iraqi officer, from western Iraqi city of Ramadi|
We are happy that the Americans have left and I think it is the resistance attacks that have forced them to leave. But we are concerned about Iraq’s unity as we have a sectarian government. Until now, there [has been] no consensus on reinstating former military officers.
|Sinan Khalid, a student at al-Hawza, a seminary of traditional Islamic education, in Najaf|
The withdrawal is a good idea, but as Iraqis we should militarily get prepared for the post-withdrawal era.
Some religious and government institutions are working on that.
|Alaa Edward, a Christian from the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk|
We, the people of Kirkuk, have no gained any benefit from the Americans; on the contrary the US troops have pulled out and left the city at risk. At any moment there is fear, we fear the Kurds, the Baghdad government and al-Qaeda. Everything in Kirkuk is unclear and we are the ones who will go through all the suffering.
|Ghazi Salman, an Iraqi journalist and writer from Baghdad|
As Iraqis, we are so happy that the US forces have completely left Iraq. The day should be taken as Jalaa (Evacuation) Day, or even a National Day and not [as] the government called it a “Day of Loyalty”. There is confusion caused by the political groups which want the Americans to stay in Iraq.
Even some of the regional forces want the US troops to stay in Iraq to use it as a justification to interfere in Iraq and to egg some of the political parties and arm them. The Iraqi army still lacks sophisticated arms and experiences.
|Moayyad Tahseen, assistant university lecturer, from the northern Iraqi city of Mosul|
We hope no soldier will stay in Iraq. Here in Mosul there is no US soldiers and only Iraqi forces are present. People here are only busy with providing services as we still suffer shortages of petrol, electricity and other daily needs.
|Israa Saad Hasan, a journalist from the province of al-Muthana|
I’m optimistic about the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq.
I see it as a victory to Iraqis if Iraq and its people are compensated for the morale and material damage the occupation had inflicted on them.
|Anas al-Jibouri, a secondary school student from Diyala province|
I am happy that the US forces have withdrawn from Iraq but I don’t know about the problems that might emerge after the departure of the US troops. Here in Diyala, there have been tensions and a rift appeared after officials in Diyla declared the province as an independent region. That might have an effect on the security situation here.
|Qasim Mohammed Majeed, freelance journalist, Baghdad|
The US withdrawal will lead to a collapse of the security situation especially after some of the provinces, like Tikrit and Diyala declared themselves independent regions.
There is fear among Iraqis of the return of militia like the Mahdi army.
If Iraqis are asked to vote on US troop withdrawal, I bet that more than 80 per cent will support the presence of the US troops.
|Avan al-Harki, a female photographer, from the Kurdish region’s city of Erbil|
The Kurdistan region is the best place ever in Iraq, and the Americans have helped the Kurds to gain security and a relative independence. At the same time, we are afraid of the Americans for not abiding by the pledges they gave to the Kurds. We are also concerned about human rights violations in Kurdistan and the conflict among Kurdish parties. I hope that the withdrawal will not leave any impact on the region and that our region remains the most striking.