IRAQ US HANDOVER
Anbar province governor Mamoon Sami Rashid (2nd-R), Iraq's national security adviser Muwaffaq al-Rubaie (C) and Sunni leader Sheikh Ahmed Abu Risha (2nd-L) listen to their national anthem during a handover ceremony at at the governate building in the provincial capital of Ramadi, about 100 kms west of Baghdad, on September 1, 2008. Iraqi forces took over control of the Sunni Anbar province from the US military today, symbolising the growing security gains in the war-torn country. The ceremony to transfer Anbar, once the most explosive battlefield in Iraq, to local forces took place in Ramadi, marking the handover of the 11th of Iraq's 18 provinces. AFP
The 25,000 American troops remaining in Anbar will focus on training Iraq's military and police forces and standing by to help if the Iraqis are unable to cope with any surge in violence.