US hands over key Anbar province to Iraqis
After months of delays, the US is to hand over the once volatile Anbar province to the Iraqi government.
The province began a transformation in late 2006 as former insurgents turned against al-Qaeda and became US allies.
Towns in the province - like Ramadi and Falluja - were once part of the so-called "triangle of death".
With Anbar's transfer Iraqis will control security in 11 of the country's 18 provinces.
The BBC's Mike Sergeant in Baghdad says the handover represents a significant milestone for America in Iraq.
But he says there are major concerns about whether the well-armed Sunni tribesmen who helped the US fight al-Qaeda can ever work comfortably with the national government of Iraq.
The province - the largest in Iraq - was originally due to be handed over in March - and then June - before being delayed again in July following a disagreement between the governor of Anbar and the Iraqi government.
It will be interesting to see how long it will take before US troop levels in Anbar decrease - though the US military says there will not be a dramatic reduction overnight.