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updated 10/21/2011 6:17:01 PM ET 2011-10-21T22:17:01

President Barack Obama's announcement that he would bring all U.S. forces in Iraq home in time for the holidays drew a range of reaction on Friday. Here's a sampling worldwide:

  1. Related content
    1. Republicans criticize Obama over Iraq withdrawal
    2. Obama keeps campaign promise with Iraq
    3. Live vote: Was Iraq war worth the costs?
    4. End of an era as US troops withdraw from Iraq
    5. Slideshow: US troops leave Iraq

'I'm afraid'
Ziyad Jabari, a Baghdad shop owner, expressed concern, saying he was worried about Iraq's possible slide back into sectarian violence once American forces leave.

"I would be very happy with this withdrawal if our military and security forces are ready to fill the gap of the American forces. But I don't believe they are. We can't deceive ourselves," Jabari said. "Our forces are still not capable of facing our security challenges. I'm afraid this withdrawal will allow al-Qaida and the militias to return."

Video: Troop withdrawal: The talks behind the scenes (on this page)

For mom, it's too late
Norma Aviles of Tampa, Fla., said she's glad that more families will be spared the pain she has suffered.

"I was always against this war. We never should have been there," Aviles told Tampa Bay Online. "I lost my son, my beautiful son. That life will never be replaced. I am glad we are getting out of that place."

Her son, Marine Lance Cpl. Andrew Aviles of Tampa, was killed in Iraq on April 7, 2003. He was 18.

"So many lives have been lost in this war," Aviles said. "Especially young Americans like my son. ... The pain of losing him never goes away."

'A good thing'
Jordan Calder of St. Petersburg, Fla., was injured by an explosion in Baghdad in June. He heard the news while heading to Fort Riley in Kansas and said he was relieved for his fellow soldiers in the war-torn country.

"I think it's a good thing we're all coming back," he said in a telephone interview with Tampa Bay Online. "How effective that is going to be, I don't know. Things change over there like there's no tomorrow."

He said he's happy to be back in the United States and his wounds from the June blast are about healed.

"I'm doing good," he said. "I just got three scars on lower right leg. That's it."

McCain: Pullout premature
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., a proponent of U.S. military presence in Iraq beyond 2011, criticized Obama's plan.

"I am confident that no U.S. commander of any stature who has served in Iraq recommended the course of action that has now been taken," said McCain, according to Stars and Stripes.

Republicans criticize Obama over Iraq withdrawal

Number 870 and 37
Darlene Ginther was happy to hear the news for all the other troops in Iraq, but remained skeptical of the road ahead.

"It's been a long time coming," the Port Charlotte woman told Tampa Bay Online. "I don't think it's going to happen. It's just my feeling I don't think it's going to happen."

Her son, Ronald Ginther, had been in the Navy for four years when terrorists attacked New York and Washington 10 years ago. He called home to tell his parents he likely would be shipped to a war zone, she said.

The petty officer was killed on May 2, 2004, in Anbar, Iraq. He was 37.

"He was number 870," his mother said, referring to service men and woman killed in the line of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. "He's missed."

Indianapolis readers weigh in
"Whatever the motive, let's be thankful our troops are coming home! And be thankful you live in this country where you can openly voice your opinions on such media as this ... without being executed!" wrote Brooke Doughty Huber on WTHR's Facebook wall, the NBC affiliate in Indianapolis reported.

Obama keeps campaign promise with Iraq

"That's great news but how many will actually get to come home?" wondered another reader, Alice Crawford of Indianapolis. "I have heard many are being deployed to other regions of the world. Afghanistan and other places. Yes, it's part of the job and all, but many of those men and women haven't been HOME in a long time. I think they need to come home on leave for a while before being sent somewhere else. It's the least the government can do for them."

'Kind of premature'
Donald H. Linborg, past commander of the American Legion in Monroe County and the Cottreall-Warner Post 942 in Webster, N.Y., said he believes pulling out American troops could be a mistake.

Video: Maddow: Troop withdrawal is 'emotional' moment for many (on this page)

“It’s kind of premature, to walk away at this point,” Linborg told the Democrat and Chronicle. “There’s a lot of people waiting for us to leave so they can just walk in and take over.”

'Support our veterans'
Paul Rieckhoff, founder and director of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America and an Iraq veteran, said the nation needs to support those returning from Iraq.

"The men and women who have served need support in tackling record levels of unemployment, suicide and mental health injuries," Rieckhoff said in an emailed statement, adding "Just as we supported them overseas in Iraq, all Americans must continue to support our veterans as they transition back home.”

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Video: Can Iraq handle the challenges ahead?

  1. Transcript of: Can Iraq handle the challenges ahead?

    KATE SNOW, anchor: We want to turn next, though, to our chief foreign correspondent, Richard Engel , who's covered the Iraq war , of course, since day one. He joins us tonight here in our studios. And this decision today, Richard , does bring some risk.

    RICHARD ENGEL reporting: It certainly does and those risks are significant. The Iraqi government is weak, it is corrupt. The Iraqi state remains very unstable, but soon it will be up to Iraqis themselves and without US help to determine their fate. In just 10 weeks America 's war in Iraq will finally, truly be over, nearly nine years after it began with shock and awe.

    President GEORGE W. BUSH: The dangers to our country and the world will be overcome.

    TOM BROKAW reporting: The Iraqi capitol city has been the target of two surgical strikes.

    ENGEL: The 21-day assault on Baghdad and the hunt for weapons of mass destruction that weren't there.

    Unidentified Man: We got him.

    ENGEL: But a quick victory began a bloody insurgency and then a civil war . All along the way, US troops , 166,000 at the peak in 2007 , have been fighting, building and dying. Four thousand four-hundred sixty-nine US troops killed, 32,213 injured. Iraqi deaths, almost 150,000, but many Iraqis believe it's a million. The cost? At least $700 billion and perhaps a lot more. Then, a year ago, the US combat mission ended, but thens of thousands of American trainers stayed on. They were supposed to remain until the end of this year, but Iraq considered keeping two to 3,000 beyond that, a safeguard in case the civil war returned. But Iraqi politicians, especially Shiite hardliner Muqtada al Sadr , refused to grant the troops immunity, so they're not staying. So can Iraq handle the challenges ahead? Recent signs are troubling. Car bombings and ethnic violence both up. Iran , a long-time enemy, gaining influence. And this week, in Northern Iraq , Kurdish militants launched a raid into Turkey , killing 26 Turkish soldiers. Turkey responded with 10,000 troops and attacked Kurdish militants across the border in Iraq , all while American troops are still there.

    Colonel JACK JACOBS, Retired (NBC News Military Analyst): I think Iraq is going to be more destabilized, but not necessarily because we're leaving. I think because we went there in the first place .

    ENGEL: Once US troops are gone, Iraq will be more vulnerable, but also perhaps more responsible and self reliant. The training wheels off, Iraq will have to succeed or fail without American troops on the ground to guide the way. After today, we finally know, Kate , where the end parenthesis goes. When history is eventually written it will say ' Iraq war , 2003 - 2011 .'

    SNOW: It seems so long ago. Richard Engel , thank you.

Photos: 2010 drawdown

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  1. U.S. Army Stryker armored vehicles cross the border from Iraq into Kuwait on Wednesday, Aug. 18. The U.S. Army's 4th Stryker Brigade is the last combat unit to leave Iraq as part of the drawdown of U.S. forces. President Barack Obama had set a goal of reducing the number of American troops in Iraq to 50,000 troops by Sept. 1. (Maya Alleruzzo / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. A U.S. soldier waves from his Stryker armored vehicle after crossing the border into Kuwait. (Maya Alleruzzo / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. A soldier dismantles a machine gun mounted on his Stryker immediately after crossing the border on Aug. 16. (Maya Alleruzzo / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. U.S. Army soldiers from 2nd Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade race toward the border on Aug. 18. (Maya Alleruzzo / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. Stryker armored vehicles through southern Iraq en route to Kuwait on Aug. 15. (Maya Alleruzzo / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Soldiers from C Company, 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division gather before the convoy to Kuwait. (Maya Alleruzzo / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. A member of the U.S. Army's 4th Stryker Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, carries an American flag after a departure ceremony at Forward Operating Base Constitution in Abu Ghraib, Iraq, on Aug. 7. (Moises Saman / The New York Times via Redux Pictures) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. The U.S. Army's 1st Armored Division band plays during a ceremony marking the formal withdrawal from the last checkpoints they helped staff in the Green Zone of Baghdad on June 1. (Holly Pickett / Redux Pictures) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. U.S. military Humvees are ready to be shipped out of Iraq at a staging yard at Camp Victory on July 6 in Baghdad. Everything from helicopters to printer cartridges are being wrapped and stamped and shipped out of Iraq in one of the most monumental withdrawal operations the American military has ever carried out. (Maya Alleruzzo / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. Workers sort through broken computer equipment that will be destroyed at a demilitarizing facility for unusable, un-transportable U.S. military equipment at Camp Victory on June 24 in Baghdad. (Maya Alleruzzo / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. Workers operate machinery that destroys damaged concrete blast walls at the U.S. Joint Base Balad, north of Baghdad, on July 3. (Maya Alleruzzo / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. Soldiers from 4th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, clear their weapons before boarding a military aircraft in Baghdad, as they begin their journey home on Aug. 13. (Maya Alleruzzo / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. Soldiers from 4th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, board a military aircraft in Baghdad on Aug 13. (Maya Alleruzzo / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. An Air Force airman talks on a radio as Army soldiers from 4th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division prepare to board a military aircraft in Baghdad on Aug 13. (Maya Alleruzzo / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. Soldiers from 4th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, are seen on board a military aircraft in Baghdad on Aug. 13, as they begin their journey home. (Maya Alleruzzo / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. U.S. Army soldiers carry the flag-draped transfer case containing the remains of a U.S. soldier out of a C-17 during a dignified transfer on the tarmac at Dover Air Force Base on Aug. 17 in Dover, Del. (Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
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  1. Image:
    Maya Alleruzzo / AP
    Above: Slideshow (16) US troops leave Iraq - 2010 drawdown
  2. Image:
    Khalid Mohammed / AP
    Slideshow (5) US troops leave Iraq - 2011 drawdown

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