As the United States officially ended it military presence in Iraq with a small parade at Baghdad airport that neither Iraq’s president nor prime minister bothered attending, The Guardian reported:
On the streets of Baghdad, the ceremony caused little fuss. It was carried live by state television, but groups of men in several coffee halls in the city’s eastern suburbs largely remained ambivalent.
Assad Mohammed, 48, a spare parts shop owner said. “I don’t have any emotions about the events of today. I’m not happy and I’m not sad.
“Whether they are here or not, it’s the same. Stability isn’t in the hands of the government, or the Americans. It’s in the hands of the Iraqi people.
“Sovereignty is not something that will be given to us. Sovereignty is when the people step forward and take it.”
Another man, Mundhar Kamel, 65, said the departure changed little. “This move is them exiting from one door and entering from another. In the embassy they still have 15,000 people and there is talk about 3,000 more [military] trainers. This is not a withdrawal, this is an act on a stage.
“We haven’t gained anything from the country. They destroyed the country and now they are leaving.”
Adham Abul Razzak, 30, saw hope in the withdrawal. “I am very happy because of this withdrawal. I wish that this step would be the first towards unifying Iraqis and expelling sectarianism.
“The effect of the occupation is still with us because of the relations between the two sides and the presence of such a large embassy. I don’t think there will be violence after the withdrawal, the opposite in fact. But only if the neighbouring countries do not interfere in our business.”