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    Inside Iraq - The battle for Iraq's security- 10 Jul 09

    Al Jazeera English

    by Al Jazeera English

    US troops started to withdraw from Iraq's cities at the end of June, leaving security in the hands of the Iraqi army and police.

    The pullback marks the first step towards a US exit strategy from Iraq.

    Barack Obama, the US president, has vowed to withdraw most US troops from Iraq by August next year. But plenty of armed forces and militias are still active in Iraq.

    Following the US troop withdrawal, how might they respond to the new balance of forces on the ground? What is the future of the militias in Iraq now that the US has withdrawn from the urban areas? Does the fight continue until the last American soldier leaves?

    We ask: Who are these groups and what is their relationship with Iraqi government forces?

    Jasim Azzawi discusses with guests: Peter Harling, an Iraq, Syria and Lebanon project director with the Middle East programme of the International Crisis Group; Nibras Kazimi, a visiting scholar at the Hudson Institute in Washington DC, and Anthony Shadid, a Washington Post staff-writer based in the Middle East .