UK troops to start Iraq pullout in MarchDecember 10th, 2008 - 11:35 am ICT by ANI
London, Dec.10 (ANI): Britain will begin withdrawing its 4,100-strong force from Iraq by the beginning of March, with almost all troops leaving within a few months, a senior defence source revealed yesterday.
Prime Minister Gordon Brown is expected to announce the pullout that, in effect, will end the UK’’s engagement in one of the most controversial wars in recent times, in the Commons next January, reports The Independent.
Most of the helicopters and unmanned Predator aircraft will be transferred to Afghanistan, and ministers will consider whether to send extra troops to Helmand for a temporary “surge” in time for the country’’s elections in September next year.
The UK forces in Basra are to be replaced by American troops who are expected to set up their southern Iraq headquarters in the city. As well as guarding the Iranian border, the US contingent will safeguard supply lines into Iraq.
A small detachment of UK troops of about 400 will remain behind, with an officer with the rank approximating a brigadier, to train Iraqi forces.
Britain will continue to train the Iraqi navy and also set up and run a staff college for officers in the country’’s armed forces.
The exact timetable of the withdrawal could not be formulated during negotiations with the Iraqi government of Nouri al-Maliki over the crucial Status of Force Agreement (Sofa) to work out the conditions of the troops leaving as well as those who would be staying behind.
That agreement is to be signed by the end of the year after approval by the Baghdad parliament.
The British military, it seems, had been moving equipment out of Iraq for some time in anticipation of the draw down, in an operation codenamed Archive. The gradual removal of assets is designed to minimize the need for long convoys heading out of Basra towards the Iraq border, which would present a target for the militias to attack.
American and British commanders say that disengagement from Iraq, with the loss so far of 177 British service personnel and thousands of Iraqis, can be done because there has been a dramatic improvement in the security situation in Basra and other southern areas since the operation. (ANI)
- US troops to be out of Iraq this year - Dec 12, 2011
- Iraqi PM rules out US troops' stay beyond 2011 - Dec 28, 2010
- 23 protesters killed in Iraq's 'Day of Rage' - Feb 26, 2011
- Radical Islamic cleric al-Sadr urges Iraqis to 'resist occupier US with all means' - Jan 08, 2011
- US, Iraqi officials talk relations after troops drawdown - Oct 29, 2011
- US troops to pull out from Iraq by 2011 end - Oct 22, 2011
- Last US troops out of Iraq (Lead) - Dec 18, 2011
- British troops to leave Iraq ''by July'' - Dec 17, 2008
- Iran hails Iraq's 'growing influence' - Apr 24, 2012
- Main battle against terror ends: Iraqi PM - Aug 07, 2012
- Obama marks end of Iraq war - Dec 15, 2011
- Iraqi factions sign peace pact proposed by radical Shiite cleric - Dec 25, 2011
- UAE foreign minister visits Iraq - Feb 17, 2012
- Biden pays surprise visit to Iraq - Nov 30, 2011
- Japan pledges $750 mn for Iraq's development - Nov 23, 2011
Tags: american troops, british commanders, convoys, disengagement, exact timetable, gordon brown, iranian border, iraq border, iraq pullout, iraqi government, militias, moving equipment, nouri al maliki, prime minister gordon brown, southern iraq, staff college, strong force, target, uk troops, unmanned predator aircraft