03 October 2007
British troops in Iraq to be reduced to just 4,500
The British presence in Iraq will be reduced to just 4,500 troops by the end of the year, the government has announced. The move involves a bit of political trickery, since the withdrawal of 500 had already been announced.
The move probably has more to do with keeping the Tories off balance, and preparing for a possible General Election, but the news is still welcome.
Back in the summer the government was warned that to reduce British numbers much below 5,000 would render the occupation forces unable to defend themselves. Obviously that will have been taken into account, but what is clear is that the British will not be able to mount any offensive operations against the Iraqis.
Slowly but surely the occupation is winding down as far as Britain is concerned.