President Obama announced Friday that all U.S. forces will be withdrawn from Iraq by the end of 2011, saying the troops "will definitely be home for the holidays."
The announcement, in the White House briefing room, came after the president completed a secure video conference with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.
The discussion apparently finalized negotiations that have dragged on for months over what, if any, military presence the U.S. would maintain in Iraq beyond a Dec. 31 withdrawal deadline set in 2008. The president said the two are now in "full agreement" over how to move forward, and that no U.S. troops will remain.
"As promised, the rest of our troops in Iraq will come home by the end of the year," Obama said. "After nearly nine years, America's war in Iraq will be over."
Though the president cast the announcement as making good on his promise to wind down the conflict, the plan was far from a sure thing.
Officials had been discussing with Iraqi leaders the possibility of several thousand U.S. troops staying beyond 2011 to train Iraqi security forces. However, Iraqi leaders had refused to give U.S. troops immunity from prosecution, something that was seen as a deal-breaker.
Talks with the Maliki government did not begin in earnest until August of this year. The White House had authorized the ambassador there to negotiate the possibility of up to 5,000 trainers remaining -- though Gen. Lloyd Austin, the commanding general, had requested upwards of 15,000.
Over the summer, Pentagon officials expressed public frustration with the stalling being done by Maliki -- it later became increasingly clear that all U.S. troops would have to leave.
Capitol Hill sources indicated Friday that, while the troops will come home, the standard presence of Marines will be kept to guard the U.S. Embassy there.
Democratic leaders in Washington commended Obama Friday for the announcement. House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi called it a "promise kept."
But some Republicans have expressed concern that the U.S. runs a risk in pulling all troops out.
"I respectfully disagree with President Obama. I feel all we have worked for, fought for, and sacrificed for is very much in jeopardy by today's announcement. I hope I am wrong and the president is right, but I fear this decision has set in motion events that will come back to haunt our country," Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said in a statement.
More than 4,400 American military members have been killed since the U.S. invaded Iraq in March 2003.
There are still 40,000-45,000 U.S. troops in the country, but Obama said they would all be shipping home soon. He said the next challenge will be to ensure those troops can find work in America upon returning home.
After years of war, he said, the country Americans need to build "is our own."
Fox News' Ed Henry and Jennifer Griffin and The Associated Press contributed to this report.