Sorry don't know how to insert link, Quote frpm AOL NEWS There can be no significant withdrawal of British troops from Iraq before crucial provincial elections in the spring, the Commander of the UK's Desert Rats has warned. Brigadier Patrick Marriott, commander of the 7th Armoured Brigade, said in Basra that the elections due sometime between March and April are likely to present a bigger challenge to British forces in the region than Thursday's national poll. He said there was a real risk of fighting between the various factions in the British controlled region of southern Iraq. "I think we will be in for a bumpy ride," he said. "I would not recommend any reductions before the provincial elections are complete". Brigadier Marriott said the various political alliances which were formed for the national elections could "fracture" as the various parties scrambled for power. "If they do fracture you are going to end up with factions and some of them will probably fight," he said. While the Iraqi security forces could deal with a certain amount of trouble the British would have to step in if the situation became too serious. Brigadier Marriott said that while progress was being made in improving the Iraqi police and army it was not going as fast as he would like. He said that around only 40% of the British forces in Iraq were currently engaged in training the Iraqis, compared with around 60% just six months ago. He said that the situation was not ideal, but had been forced on them "because the terrorists are having a bit of a bang at us at the moment"."