The Norman Transcript

Opinion

October 10, 2007

British troop cutback touts results of surge

Britain's announcement this week that it will remove more of its soldiers from Iraq is being billed as a victory of sorts for the Bush administration. Prime Minister Gordon Brown said nearly half of its troops will be gone by next spring and only 2,500 will be left to support the Iraqis.

Former Prime Minister Tony Blair had announced in February that troops would start coming home. At one time, Britain had more than 7,000 troops there.

Mr. Brown said the decision was made to pull the troops based on the success of the U.S. troop surge this summer and the Iraqis' own efforts to chase insurgents from the province west of Baghdad.

Britain is one of the few remaining U.S. allies in Iraq. At one time, its forces made up more than half of the non U.S. coalition troops still there. The troops that stay will move to an oversight role and will help secure key supply routes from Kuwait to Baghdad.

The Associated Press reports the announcement came on the same day that opposition leaders called for a total withdrawal and more than 2,000 marchers in Trafalgar Square demanded British troops be brought home.

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