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Barack Obama is making good on George W. Bush's promise to withdraw US troops from Iraq by the end of this year. But there's bitter controversy how the withdrawal will happen, how much of the US presence will remain and whether Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is presiding over a new democracy or another dictatorship. Also, the US economy sees slow but steady growth, and Occupy tries the patience of local officials.

Banner image: Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki speaks during a press conference at the green zone area in Baghdad, Iraq. Photo by Muhannad Fala'ah /Getty Images

Making News US Economy Sees Slow but Steady Growth 7 MIN, 27 SEC

Despite volatility in the financial markets and the potential collapse of Europe, US economic growth this year has been far from spectacular, but it has been steady: less than one percent in the first quarter, 1.3 percent in the second, and 2.5 percent between July and September. Neil Irwin is financial reporter for the Washington Post.

Neil Irwin, New York Times (@Neil_Irwin)

Main Topic As the US Withdraws Troops from Iraq, What Are We Leaving Behind? 34 MIN, 54 SEC

George W. Bush began the latest war in Iraq, and agreement to end it by the end of this year was reached in his second term. President Obama was against the war from the start. This week, when he declared that "after nearly nine years, America's war in Iraq will be over," he did not say, "Mission accomplished." But neo-conservative Republicans say that's nothing to brag about. American commanders wanted a force of 20,000 or so to remain, and critics claim the President didn't work hard enough to make that happen. The United States will still be an important presence, with military trainers, contractors guarding the world's biggest embassy and, of course, the CIA. Will that be enough to counter the influence of Iran and maintain domestic stability?  Has Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki turned into "Saddam Hussein lite?"


Yochi Dreazen, Foreign editor for Vox (@yochidreazen)
Max Boot, Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and columnist for the Washington Post (@MaxBoot)
Robin Wright, US Institute of Peace / Woodrow Wilson Center (@wrightr)
Eli Lake, Bloomberg View (@EliLake)

Rock the Casbah

Robin Wright

Reporter's Notebook Cities Losing Patience with Occupy Protesters 7 MIN, 56 SEC

It began as Occupy Wall Street and spread to other American cities. In Lower Manhattan, the Occupy movement defeated an effort to move protesters out of Zuccotti Park, and it's not yet succumbed to the beginning of winter. In temperate Los Angeles, California, the Mayor provided ponchos during a brief rainstorm, but has since said the protests "cannot continue indefinitely." In Oakland, it's been a different story, with a backlash against arrests leading to tear gas and rubber bullets. We get updates from Kate Linthicum of the Los Angeles Times and Justin Elliott of Salon.com.

Kate Linthicum, Los Angeles Times (@katelinthicum)
Justin Elliott, ProPublica (@justinelliott)

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