US vows to be loyal partner for Iraq after army pullout

US forces will leave Iraq at a time when a wave of civilian unrest is sweeping the Arab world
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US president Barack Obama answers reporters' questions during a news conference with Iraqi prime minister Nouri Al Maliki (Getty Images)
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Iraqi prime minister Nouri Al Maliki (L) is in Washington for talks ahead of the December 31 full withdrawal of US troops from Iraq and the end of a deeply divisive nine-year war (Getty Images)
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With Iranian influence and Syria's instability looming over Iraq as US troops pack up to go, Obama assured Baghdad the US would remain a strong partner beyond the withdrawal (Getty Images)
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The US will pull out all forces from Iraq by Dec 31 (AFP/Getty Images)
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The move comes at a time when the region remains roiled by the Arab Spring, and amid fear that a bloody anti-government revolt in Syria could spread sectarian strife into neighbouring Iraq (Getty Images)
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Obama said US will remain a strong Middle East presence (AFP/Getty Images)
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The two men met at the White House to kick off a week that will ceremonially end the US military venture in Iraq (Getty Images)
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US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (3rd R) holds a bilateral meeting with Iraqi foreign minister Hoshyar Zebari (3rd L), in Washington (Getty Images)