The US has marked its transition into the final phase of the Iraq War.
Wednesday's handover ceremony shifts the focus of the remaining 50-thousand American troops from combat operations to preparing Iraqi security forces to protect the country on their own. Damion Jones has the story.
Wednesday's handover ceremony saw newly promoted US Army General Lloyd Austin initiate the change of command in Baghdad.
The military switch marks the start of what has been dubbed "Operation New Dawn," and the beginning of the last phase in the Iraq War that began in March 2003.
Vice President Joe Biden presided over the event and delivered a speech to Iraq and US troops and dignitaries.
Joe Biden, US Vice President, said, "It is not our place to tell the Iraqis who should lead. But I strongly urge them to match the courage their citizens have shown by bringing this process to a close and forming a government, and I trust they will do so soon."
Biden later told several Iraqi network news programs that he's confident the various factions in Iraq will form a workable coalition, and bring stability to the country, now that the US combat role there has ended.
He also said Iraq's government must focus more heavily on solving the nation's unemployment problem.
Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said his country appreciates what the Americans did, but added that it's now time for the citizens of Iraq to secure their own future.