MIDDLE EAST

Iraq Marks U.S. Exit with Holiday

Iraq has declared Monday a national holiday, planning festivals and celebrations, as it prepares to mark the end of the U.S. presence on the streets of its towns and cities, more than six years after the Iraq war began. As of Monday, 130,000 U.S. troops will be confined almost exclusively to American bases, leading up to the final U.S. departure in mid-2011—a milestone that’s been highly anticipated by Iraqi officials, who see it as a return to sovereignty. But the festive mood has angered some U.S. officials, who feel that U.S. troops’ contributions are being overlooked. The Iraqi prime minister has fueled the fire by describing the withdrawal as Iraq’s successful bid to “repulse” the invaders.