Tuesday, February 20, 2007

UK to Pull Out of Iraq

Tony Blair has decided to set a timetable for the withdrawal of his UK troops in Iraq in as little as 3 weeks. This pullout comes during a time when the United States has already promised their "surge" aka "escalation" of 21,500 more troops in Iraq. Tony Blair plans to cut most of the 7,000 United Kingdom troops stationed in Iraq by the middle of the year. His popularity in the UK has been slowly deteriorating thanks to his association with "President" Bush.


LONDON - Prime Minister Tony Blair will announce on Wednesday a new timetable for the withdrawal of British troops from Iraq, with 1,500 to return home in several weeks, the BBC reported.

Blair will also tell the House of Commons during his regular weekly appearance before it that a total of about 3,000 British soldiers will have left southern Iraq by the end of 2007, if the security there is sufficient, the British Broadcasting Corp. said, quoting government officials who weren't further identified.

According to NBC News, White House officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Blair will announce he is withdrawing 1,700 troops from Basra, southern Iraq. Blair and Bush spoke about the timetable on Tuesday morning, NBC reported.

The announcement comes even as President Bush implements a surge of 21,000 more troops for Iraq.

But Blair said Sunday that Washington had not put pressure on London to maintain its troop numbers. Britain hopes to cut several thousand of its 7,000-member force in the southern city of Basra by midyear.

As recently as late last month, Blair rejected opposition calls to withdrawal British troops by October, calling such a plan irresponsible.

"That would send the most disastrous signal to the people that we are fighting in Iraq. It's a policy that, whatever its superficial attractions may be, is actually deeply irresponsible," Blair said on Jan. 24 in the House of Commons.

Blair, who has said he will step down as prime minister by September after a decade in power, has seen his foreign-policy record overshadowed by his role as Bush's leading ally in the unpopular war.

So apparently our "Surge" is actually just the US sending in replacement soldiers while other countries in Iraq pull their men out. Way to go with the strategic decisions, Bush.

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