US hands massive base over to Iraqi controlBAGHDAD - The United States on Friday handed over to Iraqi control the sprawling Victory Base Complex near Baghdad, the main base from which the US war in Iraq was run, a US military spokesman said.
"The Victory Base Complex was officially signed over to the receivership of the Iraqi government this morning. The base is no longer under US control and is now under the full authority of the government of Iraq," said Colonel Barry Johnson, a spokesman for United States Forces - Iraq (USF-I).
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"There was no ceremony, just a signing of paperwork akin to the closing of a home sale," Johnson said in a statement emailed to AFP.
Lieutenant Colonel Angela Funaro, a spokeswoman for USF-I, said that US troops had pulled out in advance and that just five US bases in Iraq now remain to be handed over.
"All US troops departed as of last night," she said. "The air base which adjoined VBC has transferred to the control of the State Department, but has some troops there," she added.
At its peak, VBC housed more than 100,000 people -- some 42,000 military personnel and more than 65,000 contractors, according to the US army's top historian in Iraq.
US President Barack Obama announced on October 21 that US troops would leave Iraq by the end of 2011, bringing to a close an almost nine-year war that has left thousands of US soldiers and tens of thousands of Iraqis dead, and cost hundreds of billions of dollars.
by Olivier Knox
© 2011 AFP
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