Good News!… British Troops May Exit Iraq By End of the Year!
The Brits announced a possible withdrawal from Iraq by the end of the year after achieving success in training the Iraq security forces in the south of the country.
Progress in the Iraqi security forces made it possible for the UK to scale down troop levels in southern Iraq.
Iraqi security forces celebrate during a handover ceremony in the Shiite city of Najaf. Iraqi soldiers and police took charge of security in Najaf and its province, at a colourful and optimistic jamboree on December 20, 2006. (Qassem Zein/AFP)
Today the Times Online reported:
BRITISH commanders in Iraq have drawn up plans to allow Gordon Brown to withdraw almost all UK troops by the end of the year.
The British commander in southern Iraq, Major-General Jonathan Shaw, produced a “commander’s tactical advice” several weeks ago, senior defence sources said last night. The advice was written for Lieutenant-General Nick Houghton, the chief of joint operations, in London after the Ministry of Defence asked for options that could be presented to Brown when he takes over as prime minister.
Brown is due to fly to Iraq to be briefed by Shaw and other commanders on when Britain’s 5,500 troops should be pulled out of Iraq.
…Shaw’s advice suggested leaving a number of small training teams in the south to advise the Iraqi military forces but withdrawing the rest of the British troops by the end of December.
Look out for the liberal media and politicians to start spinning this as some kind of bad news or ominous sign.
The UK is just following the transition plans they established years ago on achieving success and stability for the fledgling democracy of Iraq:
** July 2005 (just days after the London Tube bombings) Times of India:
But observers said the news could have a significant strategic impact in the US-led so-called war on terror, which has seen terrorism hit western Europe.
The memo said that Britain was seriously planning to cut back its 8,500-strong Iraq contingent to 3,000 and that Washington hoped to hand over control of security to Iraqi forces in 14 out of 18 provinces in the country by early next year, thus slashing troop levels to 66,000 from 176,000.
** September 25, 2005 The Guardian:
British troops will start a major withdrawal from Iraq next May (2006)under detailed plans on military disengagement to be published next month, The Observer can reveal.
** October 11, 2005 People’s Daily Online:
British Defense Secretary John Reid said on Monday Britain will cut its troops in Iraq by about 500 to 8,000 in November.
“The total number of troops in Iraq following the deployment of 7 Armored Brigade will be around 8,000,” Reid told the House of Commons.
“This is about 500 fewer than at present, reflecting the closure of two small bases in Basra, the transfer of some training tasks to the Iraqi security forces and structural differences between the two brigades,” Reid said.
** March 13, 2006 The BBC:
The planned reduction of 800 British troops serving in Iraq announced by the UK Defence Secretary John Reid is not the first such withdrawal nor the biggest.
The Ministry of Defence says there have now been five such reductions and this is the largest since 2004. But it is significant.
…Officially, the reason given for this reduction is progress in Security Sector Reform (SSR)…
** August 23, 2006 London Independent:
A senior British commander said that it was “feasible” that the last British controlled region could be handed over to the Iraqi authorities by the middle of next year.
** January 11, 2007 The Telegraph:
Thousands of British troops will return home from Iraq by the end of May, The Daily Telegraph can reveal today.
Tony Blair will announce within the next fortnight that almost 3,000 troops are to be cut from the current total of 7,200…
In what will be the first substantial cut of British troops serving in southern Iraq, their number will drop to 4,500 on May 31. The announcement will be made by the Prime Minister before he steps down from office as an intended signal of the achievements the British have made in Iraq.
** February 21, 2007 The Guardian:
The prime minister is expected to say that Britain intends to gradually reduce the number of troops in southern Iraq over the next 22 months as Iraqi forces take on more responsibility for the security of Basra and the surrounding areas.
Ministers have taken on board the message coming from military chiefs over many months – namely that the presence of British troops on the streets of Basra is increasingly unnecessary, even provocative. The reduction of just 1,000 by early summer cited by officials yesterday is significantly less than anticipated in reports that British troops in southern Iraq, presently totalling 7,200, would be cut by half by May.
But, this won’t stop the politicians from spinning this good news today… So be aware.
EU Referendum has more on the media spin.