BAGHDAD — Eight people were killed in two bombings and a drive-by shooting on Monday, a reminder of Iraq's ongoing instability on a day when President Barack Obama planned to outline progress toward the impending end of U.S. military operations in the country.
The latest violence and government figures showing that July was the deadliest month for Iraqis in more than two years revived persistent questions about the readiness by Iraqi security forces to take over from the Americans as the US military draws down its forces and ends all combat operations at the end of the month.
They also confirm the widely spread belief that insurgents are taking advantage of a political impasse over forming a new government after a March 7 parliamentary election failed to produce a clear winner.
"Make no mistake: Our commitment in Iraq is changing, from a military effort led by our troops to a civilian effort led by our diplomats," Obama said in excerpts released ahead of a speech he will deliver later Monday.
The US has repeatedly insisted Iraq is stable enough to proceed with the troop drawdown on schedule and violence has dramatically declined in Iraq since 2008. But attacks remain a daily occurrence, especially in Baghdad.
The U.S. plans to draw its forces in Iraq down to 50,000 by the end of this month and the last American soldier will leave by the end of next year. There are about 65,000 U.S. troops currently in Iraq.