Speaking in a television address broadcast nationally just hours before the formal end of U.S. combat operations in Iraq on August 31, Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki told the nation it was a "bright day for the people of Iraq."
Launched in 1973, the Trilateral Commission (TC) listed an initial roster of 187 members, all of whom hailed from three areas: Western Europe, North America, and Japan (hence the name Tri-lateral).
Aijalon Mahli Gomes — a U.S. citizen imprisoned in North Korea last January, and later sentenced to eight years of hard labor with a fine of about $600,000 for the crime of illegally entering North Korea — headed home on August 27. Gomes was accompanied on his homebound trip by former President Jimmy Carter, who had traveled to Pyongyang to negotiate his freedom.
Two British newspapers, the Daily Telegraph and the Guardian, quoted in their August 12 editions statements made by Iraqi Lieutenant General Babakir Zebari, who at a defense conference in Baghdad the previous day called on the United States to leave troops in Iraq beyond next year’s planned withdrawal. "If I were asked about the withdrawal, I would say to politicians: the U.S. army must stay until the Iraqi army is fully ready in 2020,” said Zebari.
The New York Times reported on August 11 that U.S. military officials are building a case to reduce the planned withdrawal of some troops from Afghanistan, scheduled to begin next July. The article explained that the case is geared toward countering pressure being exerted on President Obama from within his own party to proceed quickly with the process of winding down the war.
Eight U.S. troops have been killed in Afghanistan during a 24-hour period running from July 13-14. A NATO statement cited by AP and the New York Times said that the first attack came on the night of July 13, as a suicide bomber drove his car into the outer perimeter of the Afghan Civil Order Police headquarters in Kandahar, and was followed minutes later by attackers armed with rocket-propelled grenades and machine guns.
New U.S. commander Gen. David Petraeus arrived in Afghanistan on July 2 to assume command of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) — the NATO-led mission in Afghanistan established in 2001 by the UN Security Council through Resolution 1386.
A CNN report on June 25 cited statements posted on two Islamist websites the previous day asserting that President Obama’s replacement of controversial General Stanley McChrystal as the commander of U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan with Gen. David Petraeus is proof that the United States and its allies have lost the war.
Voice of America and other news sources reported on June 22 that General Stanley McChrystal, the top military commander of U.S., International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), and NATO troops in Afghanistan, has been summoned to Washington to explain critical comments he and members of his staff have made about President Barack Obama and other members of the administration.