Obama to speak on Iraq troop levels

WASHINGTON (AP) ? President Barack Obama was poised to address the status of U.S. forces in Iraq amid expectations of a full withdrawal by year’s end.

The president was to speak at about 12:45 p.m. EDT after completing a secure video conference with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

Obama’s announcement may close off the possibility of maintaining a U.S. military presence in Iraq beyond a Dec. 31 withdrawal deadline set in 2008.

It would also mean that after eight years of war in Iraq, Obama would be making good on his promise to wind down the conflict.

More than 4,400 American military members have been killed since the U.S. invaded Iraq in March 2003.