Monday, October 08, 2007

Brits To Withdraw Half Of Their Iraq Forces By Spring, 2008



British Prime Minister Gordon Brown finally made it official...Britain will withdraw nearly half the troops now serving in Iraq beginning next spring, leaving a contingent of about 2,500 men. This obviously represents a compromise between Brown and President Bush, since PM Brown originally told the president at their summit that the Brits were leaving in October, after General Petraeus' report to Congress.

Almost all of Britain's troop left in Iraq are hunkered down at a fortified compound next to the airport in Basra.

“We plan from next spring, to reduce force numbers in southern Iraq to a figure of 2,500,” Brown said in a statement to Parliament. He said a decision on further cuts would be made once that reduction is complete.

Brown's rationale for pulling out is that Iraqi forces are now capable of overseeing the security in Basra. Unfortunately, Iraqi forces there on the ground appear to disagree with Brown's assessment.

The reality is that there are three separate Shiite militias fighting what amounts to a gang war for control of Basra, and the British are essentially in a bunker mode there, holed up at the airport waiting for orders to depart.

Now here's an interesting bit. There were widespread reports of PM Brown's reported `signing on' to any US military action against Iran - although was he actually said was a very nuanced refusal to 'rule out anything' as a response to Iran's nuclear proliferation.

It could very well be that Gordon Brown is aware of American plans in the region and realizes that a withdrawal in the spring might very well be a moot issue if things come to a head before then.

Without Iran and the Qods force arming and directing Shiite militias like Moqtada al Sadr's Mahdi Army and the Badr Force, things would quiet down quite a bit in Iraq and the Shiite government would become a lot more accomodating.

As I've said on these pages from Day One, without dealing with Iran, any kind of success in Iraq is impossible.

Stay tuned....

1 comment:

B.Poster said...

This was true from the beginning. If we are going to win the War on Terror, Iran as well as Saudi Arabia will have to be dealt with. With Iran the only viable option is a military one. With Saudi Arabia I'm not sure, however, a military option is probably the only viable one with Saudi Arabia as well.