06 March 2006
British to abandon Iraq? What about the USA?
Conflicting news is coming out of Iraq. On the one hand The Sunday Telegraph reported yesterday that the Anglo-American occupation forces will be withdrawn by the summer of 2007. On the other, American sources have dismissed this claim and reiterated the old line that the troops will remain, so long as the Iraqis need them. (Ho-hum)
The Telegraph report strikes me as the most likely, mainly because it came with the confirmation that the British involvement in occupying Afghanistan may last a further ten years. The British army cannot occupy both Iraq and Afghanistan, so it looks like the British are preparing the ground for the end of the Iraq adventure.
However, the report also states that the Anglo-American forces will abandon Iraq together, but since all the sources for this report seem to be British, the cynic is inclined to ask, just how firm is the American committment to leave the country? It could be that the British are talking up withdrawal in the hope that the Americans may be forced by popular pressure at home to come on board.