Britain to cut troops in Iraq

1,500 likely to return home within weeks as Blair sets timetable for withdrawal

February 21, 2007
Thomas Wagner
Associated Press

LONDON–British Prime Minister Tony Blair is to announce today a new timetable for the withdrawal of British troops from Iraq, with 1,500 to return home in several weeks, the BBC reported.
Blair will also tell the House of Commons about 3,000 British soldiers will leave southern Iraq by the end of 2007, if the security there is sufficient, the British Broadcasting Corp. said, quoting government officials who weren't further identified.
The announcement comes even as U.S. President George W. Bush implements a surge of 21,000 more troops for Iraq.
But on Sunday, Blair said that Washington had not put pressure on London to maintain its troop numbers. Britain hopes to cut several thousand of its 7,000-member force in the southern city of Basra by mid-year. As recently as late last month, Blair rejected opposition calls to withdraw British troops by October, calling such a plan irresponsible.
"That would send the most disastrous signal to the people that we are fighting in Iraq. It's a policy that, whatever its superficial attractions may be, is actually deeply irresponsible,'' Blair said on Jan. 24 in the House of Commons.
Blair, who has said he will step down as prime minister by September after a decade in power, has seen his foreign-policy record overshadowed by his role as Bush's leading ally in the unpopular war. Blair knows the British public and politicians from his own Labour Party want the troops out as quickly as possible, and don't want to see Britain stick with the United States in Iraq for the long haul.
Militarily, a British withdrawal isn't likely to have much effect on the stepped-up U.S. operation in Baghdad or the war with the Sunnis in Anbar province west of the Iraqi capital. However, Iraqi forces could have a tough time maintaining security in mostly Shiite southern Iraq, including Basra city.
Blair's Downing Street office refused to comment on the BBC report, which also said Blair would tell the Commons that if the situation worsens on the ground on Iraq, his new game plan could change.
Blair and Bush talked by secure video link yesterday morning, and Bush views Britain's troop cutbacks as "a sign of success" in Iraq, said U.S. National Security Council spokesperson Gordon Johndroe.
"The president is grateful for the support of the British forces in the past and into the future," Johndroe said in Washington.
The new Blair game plan comes at a time when other coalition partners are pulling out. The Italians and Slovaks have left, and the Danes and the South Koreans also want to start withdrawing.
Currently, according to the Brookings Institution, besides Britain, the major partners in the coalition include South Korea (2,300 troops), Poland (900), Australia and Georgia (both 800), Romania (600) and Denmark (460).

I love the response from the white house..."it's a sign of success".

Yeah, while others pull out of your failed and illegal war Mr. Bush you send in 21,000 more of your own troops.....what a gleaming success.

Seriously.....who voted for this guy?

Well Bush will have a good legacy of murdering Iraqi's and getting American troops killed for nothing.
I believe the Royals had something to do with this - Harry should never have been drafted to partake in a battle....he would have been a sitting duck as well as his group having to protect him constantly.

Anyway makes sense if a country doesn't want to be there... if they believe it isn't a "good war" and the military should not be punished by their nation by keeping them in battle to please another nation.
it wasnt long ago that Harry was dressing as a nazi in a fancy dress costume party. Funny how the world comes back and bites him on the ****. Maybe he'll be a little more sensitive now he's seen war for himself

Do you really think Harry will be sent into a hot zone? My god he would distract the whole group he serves with in trying to protect him wouldn't he???

It seems such a wrong way to handle things... I wish he had taken up flight like his uncle did... he could still serve but out of the sandbox...

He's an ok guy though... I like his festiness and his flaming hair..... kinda suits his personality....
i spose he has rather more character than his father, whom i loathe

Charles is a bit of a slug eh?

I like Hot Head Harry best.... I think he has more of Diana's family in him.... they're red-heads too and outspoken....
Quote: Originally Posted by hermanntrudeView Post

i spose he has rather more character than his father, whom i loathe

Really? Why do you loath him. Actually, I quite like Charles. I think he is a very interesting person, with great intelligence...quirky, indeed...but very intelligent. I like his environmental stance. I like alot of what he does. I dunno...I like the guy. Why do you not like him? I mean, we are all entitled to our opinion. Maybe there are things I don't know, so, I thought I would ask.

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