British premier Gordon Brown lands in Baghdad, announces 1,000 troops will be home by Christmas, the rest in new year

After talks with Brown Tues. Oct. 2, Iraqi PM al Maliki said Iraqi government forces would assume complete control of security in Basra province within two months. The 5,500 British troops in the province withdrew from Basra palace last month to a base in the international airfield. The British prime minister has clearly decided to end the Iraq venture launched by his predecessor Tony Blair in rapid stages within by early next year.
debkafile reports that Brown’s announcement was motivated more by domestic British politics rather than progress in pacifying the province, where five years of British presence leave southern Iraq in the hands of Shiite militias backed by Iran and jockeying for stakes in its oil and port facilities.
The British premier’s announcement has fueled election fever in Britain, where he is expected to capitalize on his 20-point lead against the opposition Conservatives to call a snap poll. Brown’s unannounced arrival in Baghdad and the breaking news of British troop withdrawals form Iraq were timed to steal the thunder of the Conservative party conference in Blackpool and its campaign to narrow the ruling Labor’s head start in opinion polls.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email