Guess Tony Blair’s under the gun at home now — has he made a phone call to Shrub about this — the British Army is reducing its forces in Iraq. The ever-shrinking coalition of the willing. From The Guardian:
The British Army is to start pulling troops out of Iraq next month despite the deteriorating security situation in much of the country, The Observer has learnt.
The main British combat force in Iraq, about 5,000-strong, will be reduced by around a third by the end of October during a routine rotation of units.
…Last week Geoff Hoon, the Defence Secretary, said that more troops could be sent to safeguard the polls if necessary, although Whitehall sources said there was no guarantee that they would be British.
The forthcoming ‘drawdown’ of British troops in Basra has not been made public and is likely to provoke consternation in both Washington and Baghdad. Many in Iraq argue that more, not fewer, troops are needed. Last week British troops in Basra fought fierce battles with Shia militia groups.
…News of the troop withdrawal comes at a difficult time for Blair, with the publication yesterday of leaked documents suggesting that he was warned a year before the invasion that it could prompt a meltdown.