Formerly an epicenter of the Iraqi jihad.
Endgame: “Iraqi troops take control of Anbar province,” from CNN, September 1 (thanks to Jean de Florette):
BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) — Coalition troops formally handed over security control of Iraq’s Anbar province to Iraqis on Monday.
The transfer of what was once the hub of the country’s Sunni insurgency is a “major progress” for all of Iraq, said Brigadier Gen. David Perkins, the spokesman for the Multi-National Force in Iraq.
The transfer ceremony took place in Ramadi, the capital of the western province, and was attended by Iraqi officials and U.S. military brass.
“We are all well aware of what the security situation was in Anbar even a year ago,” Perkins said. “And the fact that that has been able to be turned around, that the Iraqi citizens that live there want to stand up on their own, [that] they want to take control of the province on their own … it’s a major progress not only for Anbar, but for all of Iraq.”
More than 25,000 U.S. troops serve in the sprawling Anbar province west of Baghdad; most of them Marines. They will remain for the time being but will shift their mission to supporting Iraqi forces, when needed.
Anbar is the 11th of Iraq’s 18 provinces to revert to local security control, but is the first Sunni-dominated one….