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Boehner Makes Surprise Trip to Iraq

House Speaker John Boehner made a surprise trip to Baghdad on Saturday, meeting with Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki in his first visit since ascending to the role of speaker. According to a statement released by the Iraqi government, al-Maliki told Boehner that Iraqi security forces will be able to maintain order after the U.S. leaves—a date currently scheduled for the end of 2011. Iraqi armed forces “have become able to take responsibility, to maintain security and to work efficiently,” Maliki said. Last week, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates visited as well, and he suggested that the U.S. was ready to stay past 2011 if Baghdad requested its presence.