Iraq After the Drawdown

Top reporters Anthony Shadid and Liz Sly join us live from Baghdad to talk about the road ahead now for Iraq.

Followers of Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr as they attend open air Friday prayers in Sadr City in Baghdad, Aug. 20, 2010. (AP)

U.S. troops in Iraq, as of today, are below 50,000 for the first time since the invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein seven years ago. Last week, last combat troops were formally pulled out. By the end of next year, all U.S. troops are scheduled to be gone. 

So, what is the Iraq all those departing troops are leaving behind? It’s not Saddam’s tyranny. And it’s not the violent hellhole it became in the wake of the U.S. invasion. But it is very tense. 

The country is unable, five months after elections, to form a government. And it’s increasingly, again, violent. We size up the Iraq we – sort of – leave behind.

-Tom Ashbrook


Anthony Shadid, foreign correspondent for the New York Times. He has twice won the Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting, in 2004 and 2010, for his coverage of the Iraq War. He is author of “Night Draws Near: Iraq’s People in the Shadow of America’s War.”

Liz Sly, Middle East correspondent for the Los Angeles Times. She spent most of the last decade covering the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

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