Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Brits to exit Iraq's 2nd largest city without disarming militias, probably this spring

" 'As we see the need for less troops, the surplus will go home,' said Maj. Chris Ormond-King, a British military spokesman in Basra, where Mr. Gates held the talks with British commanders.
Major Ormond-King said that Britain maintains three bases inside Basra, Iraq’s second-largest city, but that plans were moving forward to turn over the city to full Iraqi control, a step that he added was 'probably achievable' by this spring.
He said that British commanders had no plans to disarm Shiite militia groups, including the Mahdi Army and the Badr Organization, that have been vying for power in the city, as long as they do not attack British forces. A critical part of the new American strategy for stabilizing Iraq is to persuade Mr. Maliki to disarm Shiite militias as well as Sunni insurgents.
. . . [U.S. Defense Secretary Robert] Gates said this week that Britain was making troop reductions at the same time Washington was building up forces in Iraq because conditions in southern Iraq are different than those in Baghdad and other parts of Iraq, where the United States has most of its troops."

The New York Times. General Sees Summer Deadline for Troops. January 20, 2007.

posted: tuesday, january 23, 2007, 2:46 PM ET

update: tuesday, january 23, 2007, 3:06 PM ET


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