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Britain to cut Iraq troop levels

22 February, 2007

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LONDON: Britain said on Wednesday it would begin withdrawing troops from Iraq, triggering a new political standoff in Washington over U.S. President George W. Bush's decision to deploy thousands of extra U.S. soldiers.

In Iraq, U.S. officials said insurgents shot down a U.S. military helicopter with nine people on board north of Baghdad but no one was killed. It was the eighth downing of a helicopter in Iraq in a month.

The White House portrayed British Prime Minister Tony Blair's announcement London would withdraw almost a quarter of its troops in coming months as a sign of progress but opposition Democrats seized on it to press Bush to bring U.S. troops home.

"I think (the British) believe that in southern Iraq, that Basra region where (British troops have) been most active, we have made significant progress," Vice President Dick Cheney told ABC News in Japan.

Efforts by Democrats in control of the U.S. Congress to withdraw forces would hurt the broader fight against terrorism, he said. Last week, the House of Representatives passed a symbolic resolution opposing more U.S. soldiers in Iraq.

Democrats seized on Blair's statement as support for their position that a political solution was needed rather than sending more troops into the four-year conflict in Iraq, in which 3,148 U.S. soldiers have been killed.

"There can be no purely military solution in Iraq," said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. "At a time when President Bush is asking our troops to shoulder a larger and unsustainable burden policing a civil war, his failed policies have left us increasingly isolated in Iraq and less secure here at home."

Blair, whose popularity at home has sunk because of his support for Bush over Iraq, said British troop levels would be reduced by 1,600 but soldiers would remain into 2008 to provide support and training if Iraq wanted.

"The actual reduction in forces will be from the present 7,100 -- itself down from over 9,000 two years ago -- to roughly 5,500," he told parliament.


Denmark and Lithuania said they would withdraw most of their troops from Iraq by August. Many other countries which joined U.S.-led forces in Iraq, such as Japan and Spain, have already pulled out troops.

Bush is sending 21,500 more troops to Iraq where U.S. forces number some 141,000.

Blair, due to step down this year, said Britain's plans reflected different security conditions faced by U.S. troops in Baghdad and those in the south where Britain handed over command of the main Iraqi army unit in Basra to Iraqis on Tuesday.

Anthony Cordesman at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington said the British withdrawal would play into the hands of Iranian-backed Shi'ites in Iraq.

"The British cuts will in many ways simply reflect the political reality that the British 'lost' the south more than a year ago," he said.

In Basra, Iraq's second city and a major centre for oil production, many expressed relief at the planned British withdrawal but some voiced fears it was premature.

"They were occupiers and they should have left long ago," said Nour Abdul-Muttalib, 29, a teacher.

Jaafar Saleem, 38, a businessman, said: "I think their exit will produce lawlessness in the city."

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has called the U.S.-backed security crackdown in Baghdad which started last week a "brilliant success". But a spate of car bombs that have killed scores has tempered early optimism.

A car bomb exploded at a police checkpoint near a busy market in the Shi'ite Muslim holy city of Najaf on Wednesday, killing at least 11 people and wounding 35 others, police said.

In Fort Campbell, Kentucky, a U.S. soldier facing a court-martial at a military base broke down in tears as he described how he and others planned the rape of a 14-year-old Iraqi girl, murdered along with her family.

Sergeant Paul Cortez, 24, was the second U.S. soldier to plead guilty to raping the girl and killing her and her family in Mahmudiya, south of Baghdad, in March 2006.

The soldiers then poured kerosene on the girl's body and set fire to it in an attempt to cover up the crime.

Courtsy - Paul Hughes and David Clarke

Reader Comments:

Britain to leave Iraq

When the european union is not participating in Iraq;when NATO sees no sense in going there;when US public, the Democrats and the sensible Republicans have advised Bush to bring troops back home from Iraq, Tony Blair had to bow to people of his own country and do what every body wants.

But, Bush is sticking put to his guns as the only robot to dance through the master key, that can prod him to do it whatever advised by Tel Aviv.

British withdrawl from Iraq is not something ordinary or symbolic. British troops are stationed in Basra, which is the key supplly lifeline to American troops on Kuwait-Basra-Baghdad highway.All the surge that president Bush is talking about can be consumated in substituting the leaving Brits. The disenchanted Turks have made Bush plan for independent Kurdistan even on Iraqi side a dismal unachievable thing.And that makes Iran safe from ground attack as the convenient invasion route to Iran won't be there through Kurdish territories.

And resorting to aerial bombardment using nukes against Iran as an option that will no doubt be in compliance with the advise and wishes through master keys in Tel Aviv, but it will unite the whole world against America for carrying out the morally most sinful act in history that might bring a very rapid down fall of the US. The global economies stand a very strong chance of blowing up through energy bust.

Blair saying good by at the very critical point may be to extricate himself before hand from the moral rejection by the humanity if the sinful act of using nuclear weapons is committed against Iran as being prodded by Tel Aviv at every moment.

But, the sole super power can find problems on moral grounds and that does'nt mean that sole super power can be or is defeated. Defeat is only conviction or misbelief not supported by the world at large for America. Bush,by complying with world opinion will gain moral highs for self and for Israel as well by not carrying out the ultimate folly.Any use of nukes against Iran will change the whole world and Bush and America for worse and beyond repairs for ever. Every body will then rush to acquire nukes as it will become the do or die necessity.

The energy crush could hit America worse than nukes. The non driving America sans patrol will go reeling down with thud fall.You take away a few dollars away from the Americans and they are jumping to do any thing to self. And if you take away the car and the life style, it will be the final call fall to what has been the richest, wealthiest and technologically the most advanced nation in history.Protecting an already overly protected Tel Aviv can make sense. But destroying the world's finest culture ever in history of Iran by nukes is going to reverberate into the ultimate end of the humanity as it has existed for thousands of years.

The thermonuclear crush of humanity is bound to follow after any nuclear misdventure against the non nuclear Islamic Iran.

Israel can be reality and be accepted with its roots as part of middle east on long terms basis. But, watch out the middle east after the sinful folly of using nukes on noble Iran is committed.



Anwar Mahmood, Canada - 22 February, 2007

Britain USA allied to leave Iraq after Pumpingline set up

Zionism and sheikdom of Lawrence of Arabia created Israel recently. Since then the world has world plunged into disaster wars theft and reverse industrial revolution of the west.

Israel Is Implant of Sheiks and Zionism and Car energy Users. Recognition of Israel by quoting NASA Fossil Fuel Nuclear Power Plant Wind PP hydro electric PP Battery acid PP Geothermal PP recognition is absurd.

They are as absurd as quoting Energy to recognize Israel.22000 Jews Israel and Arab
Sheiks were the first one to bomb Saddam Nuke PP construction in pursuit to build
26000 real NUKES as well as all above PP.This is Israel this is incompetence of the
Following .technology is there solution is there but you simply do not know what to do.
Quran says they are neither dying nor living just squandering killing wandering as
People professors leaders and MPS of democracy wandering here there in Kufr.Sharing
Commission of kufr and killing requisite by banishing religion is another requisite.
How Pathetic!

Bringing energy from Mars Harnessing Sun Energy (E) hot spring water E Indonesia
Philippine Hawaii live volcano E and digging hole in the earth to extract heat
From underneath of the earth Crust to extract E or Recognition of Israel Rhetoric as short
Cut to commission extract requisite is absurd. Who wants short cut to commission?

I.e. Bush regime EU regime Japan regime India China Saudi Pakistan regime or professors of MIT Harvard Oxford Cambridge U of T or Princeton

This is absurd without any solution. For solution you need competency to use above
(Already given).Just get rid of kufr and darkness from your life and you will see light
At the end of Tunnel in lieu of recognition Israel of Zionists who Bombed Saddam’s
Nuke PP before going to steal oil and increasing 22000 Jews to 5 million on free loot
Free land of Philistine (host) who have been over run by you thugs.

b m z, Hungary - 23 February, 2007

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