US troops in Iraq no longer a "multi-national" force
US forces in Iraq officially renamed their military command during a ceremony Friday at their base on the outskirts of the capital, dpa reported.
The 110,000 troops in the country will now be known as United States Forces - Iraq (USF-I), changing the name from "Multi-National Forces - Iraq" (MNF-1), which had been the designation since the US- led 2003 invasion of the country.
Senior military officials from both countries were on hand for the Baghdad ceremony, including General David Petraeus, the top US military commander for Central Asia and the Middle East, who led US forces in Iraq from 2007 to 2008.
The change reflects new realities on the ground after British and Australian forces became the last major contingents of foreign forces to leave Iraq in July.
US forces also began reducing their presence over the summmer as the security situation improved, pulling troops out of Iraqi cities. Troop numbers are expected to be cut to about 50,000 by the end of August and a near-complete withdrawal is planned by the end of 2011.
The multi-national designation had long been controversial as the bulk of the 2003 invasion consisted of US troops. The so-called "coalition of the willing" that invaded Iraq originally included 39 countries, but many contributed just a handful of soldiers.