US Hands Over Former Military Hub to Iraq

Posted December 2nd, 2011 at 11:30 am (UTC-5)
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The base that once served as headquarters for the U.S. military in Iraq is now under Iraqi control.

A United States military spokesman said U.S. officials handed over Camp Victory to Iraq Friday, after officials from both countries signed the necessary paperwork. There was no formal handover ceremony.

About 13,000 U.S. troops remain in Iraq, but are scheduled to leave by the end of the month. The pullout will end a military presence that began with the 2003 U.S.-led invasion that toppled former dictator Saddam Hussein.

Camp Victory, a sprawling U.S. military compound on the outskirts of Baghdad, had served as the U.S. military headquarters in Iraq since 2003.

Top U.S. military officials lived at the site, which is encircled by 42 kilometers of protective walls.

At its height, the base was home to more than 40,000 troops and military-related personal.

The sprawling base was built on and around a lavish palace complex constructed by late Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.

Saddam was imprisoned at the compound before his trial and execution in 2006.

The Wall Street Journal says Iraqis are considering a number of ideas on the future use of the complex, including as a military barracks, a cultural center or five-star hotels.