Obama foresees hard times in Iraq

US President Barack Obama warned on Saturday that "there will be difficult days ahead" in Iraq, but assured that his country would remain a strong partner to the country for its security. Speaking to military families at the White House for Independence Day celebrations, the president praised Iraq's independence and thanked troops for their service. Because of the courage, capability and commitment of soldiers who have served in Iraq, Obama said, the country is now "taking control of its own destiny." "Iraq's future now rests in the hands of its own people. As extraordinary an accomplishment as that is, we know that this transition won't be without problems," Obama continued. "We know there will be difficult days ahead. And that's why we will remain a strong partner to the Iraqi people on behalf of their security and prosperity." US military withdrew this week from Iraqi cities as part of a security pact calling for a full withdrawal by the end of 2011.