Page last updated at 10:28 GMT, Tuesday, 30 June 2009 11:28 UK

Iraqi voices: US troop pullback

Tuesday is a national holiday in Iraq to mark the withdrawal of US troops from the country's major towns and cities. Two Iraqis give their views for and against the withdrawal.

AHMED KASIM, TV presenter, Baghdad

Ahmed Ali

I welcome the withdrawal of US troops from Iraqi cities. I really do prefer to see Iraqi soldiers instead of US forces, I hate the US troops.

Of course there are going to be challenges to the Iraqi soldiers' ability to keep the peace. But the US troops did not provide us with security either, so they should leave our country.

I live in al-Hurriya district of Baghdad. US troops here have been doing sporadic patrols. The area is fairly secure since concrete walls were erected, in the wake of a bloody car bomb which killed many innocent people.

Security in Baghdad and Iraq in general got better after Prime Minister Nouri Maliki launched his big law-enforcement campaign led by Iraqi forces earlier this year. But it's not 100% better.

I'm not at work today, it's a holiday because of the withdrawal. I am happy. I think the Iraqi people feel optimistic, that finally the soldiers of our own country can take control.

Foreign troops didn't give us what they promised us, they came for their own interests, not for Iraqi interests. I look forward to the day when every single foreign soldier leaves and lets us live our lives here.

TAGHREED, project manager, Erbil and Baghdad


I work for a construction company in Erbil but I come from Baghdad and I visit my parents there every month.

It's not good to see the US troops withdraw. They came to Iraq and they should finish the job, they cannot leave it just like this.

They came here without a plan and they still don't have one. Construction, services, security, infrastructure, there's chaos everywhere.

Life is better in Erbil than Baghdad, but not that much. The security is better - you can walk the streets and stay out at night - but people here suffer from poor electricity and water supplies too.

Probably half of the projects funded by US aid or by the military will close when the US soldiers go

On the other hand, the US has established many projects and employs many people who enjoy high salaries. Can you imagine the effect if these jobs stopped?

Probably half of the projects funded by US aid or by the military will close when the US soldiers go.

The Iraqi security forces are absolutely not ready. They don't have modern weapons. They still need lots of support and training and we can't rely on them, to be honest.

Criminals in Iraq have much more power since 2003. The war gave them their chance, they can kill anybody and not be afraid of any law. That's a big change.

Working in business with people is entirely different to working in the field of conflict. My business experience with Americans is really good, we treat each other very well.

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