Iraqi PM says his security forces ready to take over from Americans

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said Saturday that the country's security forces have been tested and have shown they are ready to take over from the Americans. Maliki also said US President Barack Obama agreed in a phone call Friday about the need to provide Iraq with more military equipment and weapons to fight insurgents and foreign threats. Obama declared Friday that he will end combat operations within 18 months but leave as many as 50,000 troops behind for an additional year and half of support and counter-terrorism missions. He pledged to withdraw all US forces by the end of 2011, in line with a security agreement that took effect January 1. Maliki said the US mission in Iraq "will change completely" by the end of August 2010 and the Iraqis would be prepared.