"For the first time in nine years there are no Americans fighting in Iraq. After a decade of war that's cost us thousands of lives and over a trillion dollars, the nation we need to build is our own."
Barack Obama, the US president
In keeping with Barack Obama's presidential campaign promise, the US has withdrawn its troops from Iraq and by the end of 2012 US spending in Iraq will be just five per cent of what it was at its peak in 2008.
In a special two-part series, Fault Lines travels across Iraq to take the pulse of a country and its people after nine years of foreign occupation and nation-building.
Now that US troops have left, how are Iraqis overcoming the legacy of violence and toxic remains of the US-led occupation, and the sectarian war it ignited? Is the country on the brink of irreparable fragmentation?
Correspondent Sebastian Walker first went to Baghdad in June 2003 and spent the next several years reporting un-embedded from Iraq. In the first part of this Fault Lines series, he returns and travels from Basra to Baghdad to find out what kind of future Iraqis are forging for themselves.