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Thread: Breaking News: British Troop Cut in Iraq

  1. #1
    Military Professional Ray's Avatar
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    Breaking News: British Troop Cut in Iraq

    NDTV India has reported that Blair is to announce a cut in British troops with a timetable for withdrawal.

    The TV channel states that 1500 troops will return and another 3000 by Christmas!

    One wonders what is the mismatch between the British and the US perspective. While the US is adding to its troop level, the British, the staunchest of supporters, are withdrawing troops.

    Could this have prompted this move?

    General seeks UK Iraq withdrawal
    BBC NEWS | UK | General seeks UK Iraq withdrawal
    Last edited by Ray; 21 Feb 07, at 11:00.


    "Some have learnt many Tricks of sly Evasion, Instead of Truth they use Equivocation, And eke it out with mental Reservation, Which is to good Men an Abomination."

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    Last Updated: Wednesday, 21 February 2007, 09:06 GMT

    Blair 'to outline Iraq timetable'

    Some 7,000 UK troops are currently serving in Iraq

    Prime Minister Tony Blair is expected to announce a timetable for the withdrawal of UK troops from Iraq.

    Mr Blair is set to make a statement to MPs in the House of Commons about the 7,200 British troops serving in Iraq.

    It is thought he will say 1,500 troops are expected to return home in months, with 3,000 withdrawn by Christmas.

    Downing Street has not confirmed the reports but Whitehall sources have told the BBC the process could be slowed down if the situation in Iraq worsens.

    The plan is for the British troops remaining in Iraq to be based outside Basra for a period of time so they can provide support if needed and help monitor the border with Iran.

    'Robust force'

    The proposed cut in numbers of British troops comes at the same time as 21,500 more US troops are being sent to Iraq.

    The White House has confirmed that President Bush and Mr Blair had discussed the plans on Tuesday.

    A spokesman said: "While the United Kingdom is maintaining a robust force in southern Iraq, we're pleased that conditions in Basra have improved sufficiently that they are able to transition more control to the Iraqis.

    "The United States shares the same goal of turning responsibility over to the Iraqi Security Forces and reducing the number of American troops in Iraq."

    However, opponents of Mr Bush's strategy have seized on Britain's move and are using it to attack the president.

    Wednesday's expected statement comes after Mr Blair told the BBC's Sunday AM that the operation to allow Iraqis to take the lead in frontline security in Basra - Operation Sinbad - had been "completed" and "successful".

    He said there was progress on reconstruction and that he did not want British troops to get in the way of that progress.

    Vacuum danger

    In October the head of the British Army, Sir Richard Dannatt, warned that the presence of UK soldiers in Iraq was exacerbating security problems, and said they should "get out some time soon".

    But Iraqi deputy prime minister, Barham Saleh, said last week that Basra might not be entirely ready to take over the running of its own affairs.

    He said they had to be sure any withdrawal of British troops did not undermine security and create a vacuum.


    I still believe that our presence exacerbates the security situation and we should have a target for the withdrawal of all British troops by the end of October this year
    Sir Menzies Campbell
    Liberal Democrat leader

    We should have a target for the withdrawal of all British troops by the end of October this year
    Sir Menzies Campbell

    Senior Whitehall sources have told the BBC the pullout was "slightly slower" than they had expected and "if conditions worsen this process could still slow up".

    Liberal Democrat leader Sir Menzies Campbell said: "If these reports are true, a reduction in British forces in Iraq is to be welcomed.

    "But I still believe that our presence exacerbates the security situation and we should have a target for the withdrawal of all British troops by the end of October this year."

    Inquiry

    Shadow foreign secretary William Hague told BBC Breakfast he backed the withdrawal, but questions remained to be answered.

    Britain needed to know whether the Iraqi forces were ready to take over the security of Basra and whether reduced numbers of British troops would be able to defend themselves against siege, he said.

    "We need to ask him [Mr Blair] whether he is going to launch the full-ranging inquiry into the handling of the Iraq war that I think people of all opinions and all political parties want to see."

    Last month Mr Blair responded to a Lib Dem call for a pull-out date by saying that to "set an arbitrary timetable... that we will pull British troops out in October, come what may... would send the most disastrous signal to the people we are fighting in Iraq".

    A total of 132 British Armed Forces personnel have died serving in Iraq since March 2003. The funeral of the latest - that of Private Luke Simpson, of the 1st Battalion, the Yorkshire Regiment - is due to take place on Wednesday.
    BBC NEWS | UK | UK Politics | Blair 'to outline Iraq timetable'
    Last edited by Ray; 21 Feb 07, at 11:09.


    "Some have learnt many Tricks of sly Evasion, Instead of Truth they use Equivocation, And eke it out with mental Reservation, Which is to good Men an Abomination."

    I don't have to attend every argument I'm invited to.

    HAKUNA MATATA

  3. #3
    Military Professional Ray's Avatar
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    Should UK withdraw from Iraq?

    Some comments from the British Public

    Is the time right for troops to come home?

    Tony Blair is expected to announce a timetable for troop withdrawal from Iraq. Send us your reaction.

    The prime minister is due to make an announcement in the House of Commons in which he is expected clarify the details.

    It is thought he will say 1,500 troops are expected to return home in months, rising to 3,000 by Christmas.

    What do you think of the expected announcement? Do you know anyone who serves in the military? Send us your views and experiences.

    Published: Tuesday, 20 February, 2007, 22:19 GMT 22:19 UK

    ADD YOUR COMMENT
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    Number of Comments: 68

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    Added: Wednesday, 21 February, 2007, 09:55 GMT 09:55 UK

    Whether the environment will be right for the projected withdrawal is very dependent on circumstances.Hardly a success though, is it? - hundreds of thousands of Iraqis dead, extremist terrorists in a country where they weren't before, many Iraqis living in exile, lack of services, an effective civil war, Iraq's missing billions etc Along with pulling out, we should compensate Iraq heavily for what we have done & also open our doors to the exiles Jordan&Syria are taking as a result of our actions

    Jason Parkes, Worcester, UK

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    Added: Wednesday, 21 February, 2007, 09:54 GMT 09:54 UK

    In reply to those in the United States who believe we are leaving them to pick up the pieces by withdrawing troops.

    Troops are only withdrawn when Iraqi security forces are able to effectively take on the task previously performed by troops. Then the withdrawl will not leave a hole, but is simply a hand over to local forces. This principle applies to US and UK forces.

    The fact of the matter is simply that for various reasons Basra is in a position to hand over, whereas Bagdad is not.

    Neil Kiley, Fort Worth, United States

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    Added: Wednesday, 21 February, 2007, 09:50 GMT 09:50 UK

    Lets remember to thank the soldiers who having been doing a difficult and unpopular job. My understanding is that they achieved more in the "hearts and minds" area than their American colleagues. This may be an educational issue.Is the time right to bring them home? It has to be an operational decision. One would hope that troops would not be pulled out just for domestic poltical reasons.I totally opposed the war but I also oppose leaving Iraqis in the lurch.

    Philby bradlaugh, United Kingdom

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    Added: Wednesday, 21 February, 2007, 09:45 GMT 09:45 UK

    Its not time for the security forces to pull out. The British should rid the trouble that innocent people of Iraq are witnessing daily. while we have the resourses to help I beleive that it is are duty to help those less fortunate and make a peaceful and greater Iraq.
    lets back Tony Blair as regarding the British forces the Prime minister is doing the right thing.

    jay blundell, wakefield

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    Added: Wednesday, 21 February, 2007, 09:45 GMT 09:45 UK

    Our devoted forces have exhuasted their proffession and now are baby sitting another country that should be helping itself with greater conviction, while we are stil dying for the few that are still terrifying their own country, enough is enough, let our people come home.

    white, medway

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    Added: Wednesday, 21 February, 2007, 09:37 GMT 09:37 UK

    You invaded illegally, made a mess, and now you want to leave. What a brave attitude...

    Elias Kostopoulos, Athens, Greece

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    Added: Wednesday, 21 February, 2007, 09:33 GMT 09:33 UK

    Over 600K Iraqi civilians are dead, 2 million have fled the country, and an additional 2 million are internally displaced. That's a total of 17% of the Iraqi population that has either been killed or forced to seek refuge, equivalent to around 10 million people in the UK. I can't imagine that many Britons would consider that a reasonable sacrifice for "freedom," which the Iraqi people were promised and still do not have. It's time for us to leave, along with all other coalition troops.

    Gemma Keats, Cambridge, United Kingdom

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    Added: Wednesday, 21 February, 2007, 09:31 GMT 09:31 UK

    British Forces are the finest in the world, despite their size, poor equipment and a Government which treats them with such contempt. The mess which has been created by Blair and Bush cannot be contained by force, there are not enough troops on the ground. Let the Americans sort out their own mess, if we have got the Iraqis to a stage where they can handle some of the work, it is time for us to go. Politics needs to take over. We need REAL leaders with clout not Blair/Brown to deliver peace

    Chris Parker, Bucks

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    Added: Wednesday, 21 February, 2007, 09:26 GMT 09:26 UK

    At the end of the day the general public aren't in a position to know all the details and make a decision. We need to leave the government and the millitry to make this decision themselves rather than us lot making ill informed decisions based on our personal views.
    It does seem though that everything has gone to plan. I remember when we went in to Iraq we were told it could take many years before the iraqi security forces could take control and the british could begin a phased withdrawl.

    Mark, Manchester

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    Added: Wednesday, 21 February, 2007, 09:01 GMT 09:01 UK

    It has been a dreadful mistake to go into Iraq. Better the devil you know... I believe the soldiers who are withdrawn from Iraq will, after some leave and more training be sent straight out to Afghanistan for 6 months. The point is that we need more tropps, but who wants to join an Army where the quality of life for many means they only get to see there families for six months a year (or less). Some will say "thats what they joined for", but believe me, true, but not to this extreme.

    Keith, Germany

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    Added: Wednesday, 21 February, 2007, 08:59 GMT 08:59 UK

    Should never have gone in the first place.
    Lets hope this is the start of the reversal of the damage Blair & his policies have done to this once proud isle.

    James Ferguey, Essex, United Kingdom

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    Added: Wednesday, 21 February, 2007, 08:59 GMT 08:59 UK

    Its a difficult question - bringing our troops home would mean that there would be no more UK deaths but would result in anarchy and bloodshed in Iraq on an almost biblical proportion. Let the relatives of those out there choose, I have nobody out there and have little to lose.

    Anon, Wales

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    Added: Wednesday, 21 February, 2007, 08:56 GMT 08:56 UK

    It's way to late considering they should never have been there anyway! However, to leave the USA in there on their own would be a bigger mistake than withdrawing completely.
    I believe as a NATO force there should be a multi national policing force to support the Iraqis now and they're going to need supprot for many more years to come.
    You will never stamp out terrorism as these people live for it, its in their blood to do nothing else.

    [Julian44], Ashford, United Kingdom

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    Added: Wednesday, 21 February, 2007, 08:44 GMT 08:44 UK

    First, I'm a pacifist and detest war, but I was in Damascus for a while recently and met a few Iraqi refugees. I'm pleased to say they spoke very highly of the British troops, often contrasting them favourably to US soldiers, who, they said, were trigger-happy and rude.

    Credit where credit is due. Most UK troops have conducted themselves with professional restraint and decency under extremely difficult conditions. Well done lads and Thank You.

    Joseph Public, Manchester

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    Added: Wednesday, 21 February, 2007, 08:32 GMT 08:32 UK

    The Iraq war has been a disaster, we have created the conditions for the civil war and replaced an anti Shia dictator with a Shia led government. The only gainers in the long term will be Iran. British troops are merely delaying the time when the Shia militia take over the south.

    Ian Baildon, Bradford, United Kingdom

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    "Some have learnt many Tricks of sly Evasion, Instead of Truth they use Equivocation, And eke it out with mental Reservation, Which is to good Men an Abomination."

    I don't have to attend every argument I'm invited to.

    HAKUNA MATATA

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    Military Professional Ray's Avatar
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    Added: Wednesday, 21 February, 2007, 08:29 GMT 08:29 UK

    As one of the anti-'war'protesters who marched through the streets of London, I wonder if Tony Blair, having made this final bid for popularity, will sleep at night without seeing the bodies of all those who died so horribly?

    jennifer riley, london

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    Added: Wednesday, 21 February, 2007, 08:26 GMT 08:26 UK

    It is about time that the troops came home,in one of Tony Blair's maiden speeches he did say that we would be the first generation of not going to war in our life time!!!!!!!!. It is a known fact that the Middle East is unstable always has been always will be, let them sort it themselves. Who has been the main beneficiary in all of this,certainly not us or our troops.My question who's paying for all this,perhaps the likes of Barclays etc. could pay a few bob.

    [jerrybel], atherstone, United Kingdom

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    Added: Wednesday, 21 February, 2007, 08:25 GMT 08:25 UK

    If the British troops have completed their objectives then they should leave Iraq and come home. But the success of the troops in reestablishing stability in the areas they are responsible for does not reflect back any glory on Tony Blair. He is still responsible in part for the disasterous state of the rest of Iraq and the deterioration of the region in general.

    David, Oxford

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    Added: Wednesday, 21 February, 2007, 08:24 GMT 08:24 UK

    The British Military have done a good job in Iraq, but the overall strategy has failed. Iraq is never going to be a peace-loving democracy so we might as well get out now.

    James Price, United Kingdom

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    Added: Wednesday, 21 February, 2007, 08:21 GMT 08:21 UK

    Iraq is currently a complete and utter mess, this includes Basra where the slaughter of innocents continues on a daily basis.
    Withdrawl of troops should not depend on Blairs desperate search for a more positive legacy, nor should it depend on the electorates lack of stomach when the going gets tough.
    The very least that we owe to the Iraqi people is to stay the course until they have the same standard and quality of life that they had before the illegal invasion.
    We broke it, we fix it.

    [AmAlwaysRight], United Kingdom

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    Added: Wednesday, 21 February, 2007, 08:21 GMT 08:21 UK

    As long as the job the soldiers were sent to do is now complete, by all means, bring them home. If the job is not yet finished, then they should stay. I wonder though, why the Prime Minister, not the DEFENCE minister is making the announcement. What story is the government trying to divert attention away from? ID card = police database, perhaps?

    Chris, Worksop

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    Added: Wednesday, 21 February, 2007, 08:20 GMT 08:20 UK

    When the withdrawal is complete, we should hold a full independent public inquiry, to determine how a British Government could ever have made such an appalling mistake. The Labour Cabinet Ministers who were in power at the time should be held fully to account, and jailed if necessary.

    Terry Gilbert, Norwich, United Kingdom

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    Added: Wednesday, 21 February, 2007, 08:19 GMT 08:19 UK

    We should never have gone in. The invasion was based on incorrect information by the security organisation. The only reason for the invasion was Americas need to control the world oil. So our young have given their lives to satisfy Americas greed and Tony Blairs believe that if he mixes with the powerful, famous or rich there glamour will rub of on him

    Nicholas Goff, Harwich

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    Added: Wednesday, 21 February, 2007, 08:08 GMT 08:08 UK

    I am not so sure its good to make an announcement, what worries me is that there are elements in that part of the world that will use the time table to build their resources to attack our lads when our numbers are reduced,why could we not just slowly reduce our numbers and at some later date merely report on the then current numbers.

    For all the "troops out movement" just watch as our numbers reduce our casualties will go up.

    [hyvastabz], Aberdeen, United Kingdom

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    Added: Wednesday, 21 February, 2007, 08:00 GMT 08:00 UK

    We should have taken Saddam out during the first gulf war. Pulling troops out before the country is ready is just stupid, it will lead to more instability. This country (uk) is going down hill, I do think its a bit of a disgrace that people say 'Tony Blair killed my son/daughter/etc'. They signed up for the armed forces, you have to except to go into combat. Did they think they were going to guard to local Spar? We need to stay and finish the job.

    Wilf

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    Added: Wednesday, 21 February, 2007, 07:58 GMT 07:58 UK

    Happy to see some ones sons and daughters coming home. But as I'm a yank we really dont have the same options. Leave and let the situation deteriate and we look even worse in international eyes. As others have said if only he had not gone in the first place

    Mjw, St.Louis USA

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    Added: Wednesday, 21 February, 2007, 07:57 GMT 07:57 UK

    It has been time for the last 18months...we have achieved very little in bringing stability to a VERY volatile area of the Middle East, in fact , truth be known our presence has, in my opinion destabilised the entire world. Blair & Bush are both coming to the twilight of their reigns, marginalised by their own parties, isn't it time to leave a favorable footnote on their achievements? Not only would it be sensible, it would also be an humanitarian act in a very draconian campaign.

    VinnyM, Sheffield

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    Added: Wednesday, 21 February, 2007, 07:38 GMT 07:38 UK

    War is a fact of life and always has been since the begining of man kind. Peoepl get killed. It is almost never fun or easy. I served in Iraq for a year. Most want cry about how terible it is and demand a withdraw without considering what effect that will have on Iraq, the middle east and terrorism world wide. When the terrorist attacks kill some of or any of your family and friends, think back to how you demanded we withdraw and stop fighting the terrorist. It will be a sad day.

    N. Townsend, Killeen

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    Added: Wednesday, 21 February, 2007, 07:35 GMT 07:35 UK

    Commanders in Afghanistan have requested more troops, to facilitate the move Troops form Iraq are being withdrawn to cover the shortage of man power in the armed forces, AND due to funding by the treasury, much needed armoured vehicles are not getting through.Being ex AIRCREW,(RN)i know there is a huge discrepancy in available front line helicopters also,which is putting troops lifes at risk.British troops are fighting with one arm tied behind their backs due to restrictions in equipment.

    jim evans, brighton

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    Added: Wednesday, 21 February, 2007, 07:14 GMT 07:14 UK

    It's about time we pulled out of Iraq.
    With the death toll at 131, There is no doubt it will rise by the end of Summer to at least 140. All its for is the Oil we all know that.
    Tony Blaire should look at the current situation in America.
    Where president Bush is now the most hated figure in the United States.
    It is perhaps time to rethink the situation and try to regain some respect from the Public and pull British Forces out of Iraq and Afghanistan.

    C.Black, Whitley Bay

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    For more comments see;
    BBC NEWS | Have Your Say | Is the time right for troops to come home?


    "Some have learnt many Tricks of sly Evasion, Instead of Truth they use Equivocation, And eke it out with mental Reservation, Which is to good Men an Abomination."

    I don't have to attend every argument I'm invited to.

    HAKUNA MATATA

  5. #5
    Banned Defense Professional Bluesman's Avatar
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    I thought this would happen.

    It's a nakedly political decision, divorced from operational requirements.

    I've been beating this drum for awhile now, but this is another demonstration of WHY I've been saying AUSTRALIA is America's best ally.

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    Contributor pdf27's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bluesman View Post
    I thought this would happen.
    It's a nakedly political decision, divorced from operational requirements.
    I've been beating this drum for awhile now, but this is another demonstration of WHY I've been saying AUSTRALIA is America's best ally.
    Err... why? Australia has done the same in it's own area of ops (Al Muthanna?) some time ago. The UK has repeatedly surged or reduced troop numbers over the years as dictated by the security situation, and it appears right now that the security situation is dictating a reduced number of British troops. The current number is artificially raised in support of an operation in Basra not dissimilar to the current US surge in Baghdad, and which started about 6 months ago. That is now coming to it's timetabled end, with a concomitant reduction in the number of UK troops required.

    Incidentally, the US problems in Baghdad are sectarian Sunni-Shi'ite while those in the south - particularly Basra - are both tribal and political intra-Shi'ite power struggles. They are not guaranteed to have the same answer.
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    Military Professional T_igger_cs_30's Avatar
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    It has been apparent for a long time now, no one , the US included went ino this with a valid and viable "withdrawal stratergy", when ever the time came for the UK to start its withdrawal we were going to be critisised as for Bluesman's comment re Australia being America's best ally, well live in that illusion on a per capita basis, the UK has done and donated more than its fair share, we are a small Island with many commitments its time to to re evaluate
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  8. #8
    Military Professional Ray's Avatar
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    Here is the latest:



    Blair announces Iraq troops cut

    Prime Minister Tony Blair has told MPs that 1,600 British troops will return from Iraq within the next few months.

    He said the 7,100 serving troops would be cut to 5,500 soon, with hopes that 500 more will leave by late summer.

    Mr Blair said some soldiers, stationed at Basra air base, would remain into 2008 to help secure supply routes, the Iran border and to support Iraqis.

    Basra remained a "dangerous" place but he said that Iraqis would "write the next chapter" in its history.

    Mr Blair said the troops reduction followed the success of Operation Sinbad to allow Iraqis to take the lead in frontline security in Basra.

    Mr Blair said Basra was still "difficult and sometimes dangerous", but he said levels of murder and kidnappings had dropped and reconstruction was under way.

    "The problems remain formidable," he said.

    "What all of this means is not that Basra is how we want it to be but the next chapter in Basra's history can be written by the Iraqis."

    He said that it was important to show the Iraqis that Britain - and the other multinational force members - did not intend their forces to stay longer than necessary.

    But he added: "The speed at which this happens depends, of course, in part on what we do, what the Iraqi authorities themselves do, but also on the attitude of those we are together fighting. Their claim to be fighting for the liberation of their country is a palpable lie. "

    British forces will hand over all bases to local authorities, except for Basra air base and Basra Palace, and most will withdraw to the air base shortly.

    Iraq's national security adviser, Mowaffak al-Rubaie told BBC Radio 4's World at One programme: "It's very good news and the British Army will be thanked and we are grateful for everything they have done in the southern part of Iraq, they've done a brilliant job.

    But he added: "We would have hoped that the process would've been accelerated further and speeded up rather than be spaced out."

    Conservative leader David Cameron said the announcement would be "welcomed in this House, in the country and especially to the families of those serving in Iraq over the coming months. We owe a huge debt to the professionalism, the courage and dedication shown by our armed forces serving in Iraq as elsewhere."

    'Huge debt'

    But Liberal Democrat leader Sir Menzies Campbell, whose party opposed the war in Iraq, said the "unpalatable truth" was that Britain was leaving behind a country on the brink on civil war.

    "This is a long way short of the beacon of democracy for the Middle East which was promised some four years ago," he said.

    A total of 132 British Armed Forces personnel have died serving in Iraq since March 2003. The funeral of the latest - that of Private Luke Simpson, of the 1st Battalion, the Yorkshire Regiment - is due to take place on Wednesday.

    The proposed cut in numbers of British troops comes at the same time as 21,500 more US troops are being sent to Iraq.

    The White House has confirmed that President Bush and Mr Blair had discussed the plans on Tuesday.

    A spokesman said: "The United States shares the same goal of turning responsibility over to the Iraqi Security Forces and reducing the number of American troops in Iraq."

    However, opponents of Mr Bush's strategy have seized on Britain's move and are using it to attack the president.
    BBC NEWS | UK | UK Politics | Blair announces Iraq troops cut

    COALITION FORCES
    US -132,000
    UK - 7,100
    South Korea - 2,300
    Poland - 900
    Georgia - 800
    Australia - 900
    Romania - 600
    Denmark - 460
    El Salvador - 380
    Bulgaria - 150
    Sources: Brookings Institution; Globalsecurity.org; media reports
    Attached Images Attached Images   


    "Some have learnt many Tricks of sly Evasion, Instead of Truth they use Equivocation, And eke it out with mental Reservation, Which is to good Men an Abomination."

    I don't have to attend every argument I'm invited to.

    HAKUNA MATATA

  9. #9
    Military Professional Ray's Avatar
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    Australia's contribution:

    The Australian Government was a strong and uncritical supporter of United States policy during the Iraq disarmament crisis and one of only four nations to commit combat forces to the 2003 invasion of Iraq in any substantial numbers, under the operational codename Operation Falconer.

    It is now known that part of the Australian contingent of the Coalition were among the first forces to enter Iraq after the official "execute" order.[1]

    Australian forces committed to the conflict included three Royal Australian Navy ships, 500 special forces troops, P-3 Orion patrol and C-130 Hercules transport aircraft, and RAAF 75 Squadron equipped with 14 F/A-18 Hornet fighters.

    Combat forces committed to Operation Falconer for the 2003 Invasion were withdrawn during 2003

    Forces committed
    F/A-18 aircraft and ground crew from No. 75 Squadron. Note the markings on the nearest aircraft showing either the number of bombs it has dropped or the number of combat sorties it has flown.
    F/A-18 aircraft and ground crew from No. 75 Squadron. Note the markings on the nearest aircraft showing either the number of bombs it has dropped or the number of combat sorties it has flown.

    * A headquarters staff of about 60 personnel under the command of Brigadier Maurie McNarn.

    * Royal Australian Navy
    o The frigates HMAS Anzac and HMAS Darwin, which were already on-station as part of the Multinational Interception Force enforcing economic sanctions against Iraq before the invasion plan was entered into. Each ship carried a single Seahawk helicopter from 816 Squadron RAN[1]
    o The transport ship HMAS Kanimbla carrying 350 crew and soldiers, including embarked Australian Army LCM-8 landing craft and an anti-aircraft contingent, a Sea King helicopter from 817 Squadron RAN, and a bomb disposal team. A detachment from the Army's 16th Air Defence Regiment provided point defence to the Kanimbla.
    o Clearance Diving Team Three, which worked alongside divers from several nations to clear Iraqi ports of mines.
    * Royal Australian Air Force
    o No. 75 Squadron, operating 14 F/A-18 Hornet fighter jets together with 250 command, coordination, support and aircrew personnel.
    o Three C-130H Hercules transport aircraft from No. 36 Squadron RAAF and 150 support personnel.
    o Two AP-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft and 150 support personnel (these aircraft may have operated in the electronic intelligence gathering role).
    * Australian Army
    o A 500-strong special forces task group consisting of:
    + Forward Command Element
    + Special Forces Task Group
    # 1st Squadron Group, Australian Special Air Service Regiment
    # Platoon (+), 4th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (Commando)
    # D Troop, Incident Response Regiment
    # Combat Service Support Group
    + Troop, C Squadron, 5th Aviation Regiment (3 CH-47 Chinook)
    + 2 LCM-8 Landing Craft, 70/71 Troop Water Transport Squadron

    [edit] Military significance of Australian forces

    In Australia there was little public discussion about the scale or military impact of the Australian commitment. Instead, public debate centred on the more fundamental question of whether forces should be sent at all, and if so, whether they should take part without explicit United Nations backing.

    Australians generally regard their soldiers, sailors and airmen as a highly trained elite group, worthy of comparison with any in the world. Their ability to affect the course of the war in a significant way is limited by the different and relatively restrictive rules of engagement that the Australian Government has mandated and severely limited by their numbers. Given those numbers, however, they are regarded by military experts as highly effective.

    [edit] Operations by Australian Forces

    In keeping with its relatively small size, the Australian force only made a limited contribution to Coalition operations during the invasion of Iraq. The Australian contribution was also geographically dispersed, with the Australian forces forming part of larger US and British units rather than a concentrated Australian unit. No Australian personnel were killed, wounded or taken prisoner during the war.

    [edit] Maritime operations
    HMAS Anzac firing on Iraqi positions
    HMAS Anzac firing on Iraqi positions

    Prior to the outbreak of war the Australian naval force in the Persian Gulf continued to enforce the sanctions against Iraq. These operations were conducted by boarding parties from the RAN warships and the AP-3 Orion patrol aircraft.[2]

    Upon the outbreak of war the RAN's focus shifted to supporting the coalition land forces and clearing the approaches to Iraqi ports. HMAS Anzac provided gunfire support to Royal Marines during fighting on the Al-Faw Peninsula and the Clearance Diving Team took part in clearing the approaches to Umm Qasr. Boarding operations continued during the war, and on 20 March boarding parties from the HMAS Kanimbla seized an Iraqi ship carrying 86 naval mines.[3] Army LCM-8 Landing Craft were used as forward deployment and support platforms for the Navy boarding parties and were the first regular Maritime assets to the port of Umm Qasr, moving as far north as Basara on the inland waterways collecting intelligence for allied forces. LCM-8 Assets were utilised by British and American forces for various cargo transportation duties during the course of the war.

    [edit] Special forces operations

    The primary role of the Special Forces Task Group was to secure an area of western Iraq from which it was feared that SCUD missiles could be launched. The SAS successfully entered Iraq by vehicle and United States helicopters and secured their area of responsibility after a week of fighting. Following this the SAS patrolled the highways in the area in order to block the escape of members of the Iraqi government and to prevent foreign fighters from entering the country.[4]

    On 11 April the SAS Squadron was concentrated to capture the Al Asad air base. While this base proved to be almost undefended, the Australian troops captured over 50 MiG jets and more than 7.9 million kilograms of explosives. After securing the air base the SAS were reinforced by 4 RAR and the IRR elements. The Special Forces Task Group remained at Al Asad until the end of the war, when most of the SAS Squadron and IRR Troop returned home and the 4 RAR platoon (reinforced by elements of the SAS) was deployed to Baghdad to protect Australian diplomats.[5]

    [edit] Air operations

    No. 75 Squadron's initial role was to escort high-value Coalition aircraft such as tankers and AWACS aircraft. As it became clear that the Iraqi Air Force posed no threat, the role of No. 75 Squadron shifted to providing close air support to Coalition ground forces and air interdiction against Iraqi forces. These missions were initially flown in support of the US Army but the Squadron later switched to supporting the US Marines. As the Iraqi resistance crumbled the F/A-18s were increasingly tasked to provide 'shows of force' to encourage Iraqi forces to surrender. During the war No. 75 Squadron flew a total of 350 sorties and dropped 122 laser guided bombs.[6]

    Reports indicate that the No. 75 Squadron's activities were somewhat restricted in their military role compared to similarly-equipped US forces. Australian aircraft were not permitted to operate in the "Baghdad SuperMEZ" (Missile Exclusion Zone) because of fears that the Hornet's electronic warfare systems were inadequate, though the report indicates that they were identical to American Hornets operating in this area. Furthermore, they were not permitted to conduct close air support missions in urban areas because of fears of collateral damage. These restrictions were in line with the rules of engagement set by the Australian Government, which were reportedly more restrictive than the rules governing the conduct of British and American forces.

    The Australian C-130 transports and CH-47 helicopters provided airlift to Coalition forces, including the Australian Special Forces Task Group.[7]

    [edit] Operations after the war
    HMAS Newcastle alongside USS Nimitz in the Persian Gulf in September 2005.
    HMAS Newcastle alongside USS Nimitz in the Persian Gulf in September 2005.
    An Al Muthanna Task Group patrol in 2005.
    An Al Muthanna Task Group patrol in 2005.
    A No. 36 Squadron C-130 Hercules at a Middle Eastern air base in December 2003
    A No. 36 Squadron C-130 Hercules at a Middle Eastern air base in December 2003
    Commodore Peter Lockwood (right) turning command of Combined Task Force 158 over to U.S. Marine Brig. Gen. Carl Jensen
    Commodore Peter Lockwood (right) turning command of Combined Task Force 158 over to U.S. Marine Brig. Gen. Carl Jensen

    Following the capture of Baghdad Australian C-130 aircraft flew humanitarian supplies into the city. Almost all the forces deployed for the war returned to Australia shortly after the end of major fighting.[8]

    Unlike the three other countries which contributed combat forces to the war, Australia did not immediately contribute military forces to the post-war occupation of Iraq. Following the end of the war the Australian force in Iraq was limited to specialists attached to the Coalition headquarters in Baghdad and the search for Iraq's suspected weapons of mass destruction, a frigate in the Persian Gulf, a party of air traffic controllers at Baghdad International Airport, two C-130 Hercules transport aircraft, two AP-3C Orion aircraft and small numbers of infantry and Airfield Defence Guards protecting the Australian military units and diplomats based in Baghdad.[9] This force was later expanded to include an Army training detachment and a small medical detachment attached to a US Air Force hospital. The Royal Australian Navy has also assumed command of coalition forces in the Persian Gulf on two occasions; Combined Task Force 58 in 2005[10] and Combined Task Force 158 in 2006.[11]

    During 2003 and 2004 the Australian Government is reported to have refused requests from the United States and United Nations to increase Australia's contribution to the Multinational force in Iraq through taking over the responsibility for providing security to a sector of Iraq.[citation needed] In February 2005, however, the Australian government announced that Australia would deploy an Army force to Al Muthanna Province to provide security for the Japanese engineers deployed to the province. This force, named the Al Muthanna Task Group, commenced operations in April 2005. The Australian Army battlegroup moved to Tallil Air Base in July 2006 and is currently designated Overwatch Battle Group (West).

    To date, the Australian force in Iraq has only suffered one fatality; Private Jacob Kovco who died as a result of a firearms accident while deployed to Baghdad as a member of Security Detachment Iraq. A number of Australian personnel have been wounded in attacks on Australian convoys in Baghdad.

    [edit] The Australian contribution in context

    [edit] The scale of the Australian force commitment

    The Australian military contribution was relatively small, around 2000 personnel in total, which is also smaller than other Coalition commitments in proportional terms. Calculated on the basis of military personnel per head of population, the Australian forces could have been seven times larger and still not have been equal to the per-capita commitments of either the United States or the United Kingdom.

    With one obvious exception, the particular forces committed by the Australian Government can be seen by some as modest and to follow past practice closely. Australia committed special forces to the US-led invasion of Afghanistan in roughly similar numbers to those above. The two RAN frigates were already on-station for the Afghanistan campaign; Kanimbla was a relatively small addition to the naval force. RAN clearance divers also took part in the first Gulf War.

    Australia sent Hercules and Orion aircraft to assist in the Afghanistan campaign—but also Boeing 707 tankers, which had not been committed to the Gulf conflict, despite a marked Coalition shortage of probe/drogue capable tanker aircraft. The absence of the 707s was likely caused by technical rather than policy reasons: the RAAF has only four second-hand 707 tankers; all are at the end of their service lives, very difficult to maintain and soon to be replaced.

    The commitment of No. 75 Squadron and its supporting personnel, however, was a major change from past practice. Australia did not commit combat aircraft to the 1991 Gulf War, and although a small detachment of Hornets was deployed to Diego Garcia during the Afghanistan campaign to provide airfield defence for the joint United States-United Kingdom military facility present there, this was not a true combat role, however, but simply a precaution against possible suicide attacks by hijacked civil aircraft. The commitment of No. 75 Squadron was the first combat deployment of Australian aircraft since the Vietnam War.[12]

    No official statement has been made on the reasons behind the choice of F/A-18 fighters as Australia's primary combat commitment, but it is commonly assumed that the obvious alternative of sending a substantial land force instead was considered to involve an unacceptably high risk of casualties, particularly given the possibility of house-to-house fighting in Iraqi cities. Iraq is largely landlocked, and Australia no longer has a fixed-wing naval aviation component; thus, a larger naval commitment could not be considered particularly helpful. The choice of the F/A-18 deployment rather than of the F-111 tactical bomber may have been due to the higher cost of operation of the F-111, and its use being limited to more politically contentious ground attack missions rather than more uncontentious tasks like combat air patrols.
    2003 Gulf War commitments relative to population

    Population Size of force per 1000 pop
    Australia 19.6 million 2000 0.1
    UK 60 million 45,000 0.75
    USA 282 million 214,000 0.76
    (Iraq) 22.7 million 400,000 18.2
    All figures approximate. Iraq is included for purposes of comparison. At around 0.0005% of its population, the Polish troop commitment is roughly 1/20th of Australia's, or 1/150th of the United States, allowing for population in both cases.
    Australian contribution to the 2003 invasion of Iraq - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Bit dated.
    Last edited by Ray; 21 Feb 07, at 16:07.


    "Some have learnt many Tricks of sly Evasion, Instead of Truth they use Equivocation, And eke it out with mental Reservation, Which is to good Men an Abomination."

    I don't have to attend every argument I'm invited to.

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  10. #10
    Military Professional Ray's Avatar
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    Troop deployment in Iraq 2003-present
    Iraq War Coalition troop deployment
    Active Troops Withdrawn Troops Multi-National Corps-Iraq Units

    * United States: 250,000 invasion--132,000 current (1/07)
    * United Kingdom: 45,000 invasion--7,200 current (1/07)
    * South Korea: 3,300 invasion--2,300 current (1/07)
    * Poland: 194 invasion--2,500 peak--900 current (1/07)
    * Australia: 2,000 invasion--1,300 current (1/07)
    * Romania: 890 current (1/07)
    * Denmark: 470 current (1/07)(deployed 7/03)
    * Georgia: 500 invasion--300 current (8/06)
    * El Salvador: 380 troops
    * Czech Republic: 300 peak--100 current (1/07')
    * Azerbaijan: 150 troops
    * Latvia: 136 peak--120 current (1/07)(deployed 4/04)
    * Mongolia: 131 troops--100 current (1/07)
    * Albania: 120 troops
    * Lithuania: 50 troops
    * Armenia: 46 current (1/07)
    * Bosnia and Herzegovina: 36 troops
    * Estonia: 41 current (1/07)
    * Macedonia: 33 troops
    * Kazakhstan: 29 troops
    * Moldova: 24 invasion--12 current (9/06)
    * Italy: 1,800 troops (deployed 7/03 - withdrawn 11/06)
    * Ukraine: 1,650 troops (deployed 8/03 - withdrawn 12/05)
    * Netherlands : 1,345 troops (deployed 7/03 - withdrawn 3/05)
    * Spain : 1,300 troops (withdrawn 4/04)
    * Japan: 600 troops (deployed 1/04 - withdrawn 7/06)
    * Bulgaria : 462 troops (withdrawn 4/06)
    * Thailand: 423 troops (withdrawn 8/04)
    * Honduras: 368 troops (withdrawn 5/04)
    * Dominican Republic: 302 troops (withdrawn 5/04)
    * Hungary: 300 troops (withdrawn 3/05)
    * Nicaragua: 230 troops (withdrawn 2/04)
    * Singapore: 192 troops (withdrawn 3/05)
    * Norway: 150 troops (withdrawn 10/05)
    * Portugal: 128 troops (withdrawn 2/05)
    * Slovakia: 103 troops (withdrawn 1/07)
    * New Zealand: 61 troops (deployed 9/03 - withdrawn 9/04)
    * Philippines: 51 troops (deployed 7/03 - withdrawn 7/04)
    * Tonga: 45 troops (deployed 7/04 - withdrawn 12/04)
    * Iceland: 2 troops (withdrawal date unknown)



    * Multi-National Force - West--MNF-W is headquartered by the U.S. I Marine Expeditionary Force. Their area of operations include the cities of Ar Ramadi and Fallujah.
    * Multi-National Division - Baghdad--MND-Baghdad is also known as Task Force Baghdad. Its major area of responsibility is the city of Baghdad.
    * Multi-National Division - Central South--MND-CS covers an area that includes the cities of Al Kut, Al, Hillah, and Karbala. The division is headquartered by the Polish military.
    * Multi-National Division - North--MND-North Central is also known as Task Force Band of Brothers. Responsible for an area including the cities of Balad, Kirkuk, Tikrit, Mosul and Samarra.
    * Multi-National Division - South East--MND-SE operates in the southern most part of the countries including the cities of Basrah, An Nasiriyah, As Samawah, Al Amarah. The division is headquartered by elements of the British military.
    * Logistics Support Area Anaconda--LSA Anaconda is currently run by the U.S. 3rd Corps Support Command. 3rd COSCOM is responsible for providing logistic support throughout the theater.

    TOTAL INVASION DEPLOYMENT, REGULAR TROOPS
    315,263

    TOTAL CURRENT DEPLOYMENT AS OF JANUARY 2007
    146,680 Regular Troops
    ~48,000 "Private Military Contractors" (~21,000 UK)


    "Some have learnt many Tricks of sly Evasion, Instead of Truth they use Equivocation, And eke it out with mental Reservation, Which is to good Men an Abomination."

    I don't have to attend every argument I'm invited to.

    HAKUNA MATATA

  11. #11
    Military Professional Ray's Avatar
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    It would not be fair to claim that Australia is the best ally. Their contribution and the degree of involvement in the combat is nowhere compared to the British troops.

    True, Howard sound bytes are very heartwarming, but then the Australian public is too laid back to give Howard the 'treatment' that Blair has been weathering!


    "Some have learnt many Tricks of sly Evasion, Instead of Truth they use Equivocation, And eke it out with mental Reservation, Which is to good Men an Abomination."

    I don't have to attend every argument I'm invited to.

    HAKUNA MATATA

  12. #12
    Military Professional Ray's Avatar
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    Iraq: we’re leaving one war to fight another

    Our troops are leaving Basra because more are needed in Afghanistan,

    The First Post : Iraq: we're leaving one war to fight another


    "Some have learnt many Tricks of sly Evasion, Instead of Truth they use Equivocation, And eke it out with mental Reservation, Which is to good Men an Abomination."

    I don't have to attend every argument I'm invited to.

    HAKUNA MATATA

  13. #13
    In Memoriam Military Professional dave lukins's Avatar
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    unpopular War...Public not amused..OH! yes General Election.. surely not!!

  14. #14
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    I think the UK should at least hold its troop levels steady -- obviously there are political considerations on the domestic front, but I certainly don't see how keeping troop levels steady is going to seriously hurt Labour anyways (let's admit it -- they're going to win).

  15. #15
    Military Professional Ray's Avatar
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    Will they?

    I fear a hung parliament!


    "Some have learnt many Tricks of sly Evasion, Instead of Truth they use Equivocation, And eke it out with mental Reservation, Which is to good Men an Abomination."

    I don't have to attend every argument I'm invited to.

    HAKUNA MATATA

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