Monday, September 03, 2007

The British quit Basra

British troops have begun withdrawing from the beseiged Basra Palace to a nearby airport, in the first stages of withdrawal from Iraq. The palace is the UK's last outpost in Basra itself, and comes under constant attack; supplying it has been called a suicide mission. Now instead they'll be based at the airport, a similarly indefensible position which comes under rocket and mortar attack around five times a day. Their only duty there will be training Iraqi troops and salvaging British (and American) pride by not leaving immediately.

The question now is how long even that token presence will continue. The UK government has clearly concluded that they can no longer do any good in Iraq; their presence there is both an incitement to the locals and a pointless waste of lives. They're itching for a full pullout, and its just a matter of months before they finally pull the plug.