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So, its official - UK troops to leave Iraq by July

Gordon Brown and Iraqi prime minister Nouri Maliki say UK forces will have "completed their tasks" in the first half of 2009 and will then leave.

The two leaders' joint statement came as they held talks in Baghdad.

They also said the partnership between the two countries would continue. It is Mr Brown's fourth trip to Iraq as PM.

The visit by Mr Brown, who is travelling with Chief of the Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshall Sir Jock Stirrup, was not announced in advance.
BBC Websource: UK troops to leave Iraq 'by July'

Not unexpected of course, welcome news all the same - any significance in the timing of the announcement? Other than Brown wanting to detract from the parlous state of the UK economy?

Mission accomplished then?
Yes, when are the Afghan elections again??
PartTimePongo said:
Yes, when are the Afghan elections again??
Presidential en provincial council elections are scheduled for September 2009. Parlement + district council elections for summer 2010. Or so they hope. Plenty of time I'd reckon.
Yep, just thinking the same thing Stanley. We're going to need plenty of boots on the ground for the inevitable local 'colour' that happens round about election time.

Just give the Iraqi Government the invoice for services rendered, and let's get our people out.
Leaving Iraq to go to ....Afghanistan. Brown is going to get the most publicity out of 'bringing the troops home' between now and July and then as quietly as possible deploy them to Afghanistan
rockpile said:
Leaving Iraq to go to ....Afghanistan. Brown is going to get the most publicity out of 'bringing the troops home' between now and July and then as quietly as possible deploy them to Afghanistan

But the public is not foolish. They realised what was happening when a reduction of sorts was last announced in Iraq and an increase in Afghanistan. But as with any Government they wont be swung by public opinion and will do what they want regardless.
The Great Messiah Broon once again 'saving the world'. Not that its a bad thing our troops are leaving mid next year but would he have done it if he hadn't cocked up sooo bad with the economy? It just seems like a stunt to take our attentions off how much of a pillock he really is.
Thank fcuk I won't have to do another bone TELIC tour. Feel sorry for the 20Bde lads having to tear down all that infrastructure at the various locs throughout Southern Iraq.
That is very annoying to put it mildly but lets not forget Gordon's trying to put the world right. Something that clearly comes natural to him...

...nevertheless the troops will come home and that can't be delayed. Ol' William Hague is getting on his soap box as this thread is taking place.

Mr Happy

Well lets look at this from another point of view.

Brown, who is more Lefty than BLiar probably privately - like all those handwringing MP's - wanted nothing to do with invading Iraq. He however stood loyally by the PM and for the good of the country as did we (I recall our informed arguments here on arrse in 2002-3 so I'll not accept otherwise).

BLiar kept us there and Brown added pressure to bring us home through the only method he could, the treasury. Even in government there is politics. Anyways, that got scuppered with some hints that the treasury was responsible for killing British soldiers blah blah which was both accurate and half the story.

Since he's got in he's been withdrawing from Iraq. Bit by bit and spun to be a lot but never-the-less he's descoped the mission, downsized the assets and told Iraq and America to deal with it because we're off.

I cannot say for a minute that I blame him. Ask yourself, what would Cameron have done? I don't see how this announcement can in anyway criticise Brown.
Don't blame him at all. What exactly is the point of a continued presence we are paying for in blood and treasure? Are the Iraqi Government going to give us suitable compensation for helping rid them of a tyrant?
PartTimePongo said:
Don't blame him at all. What exactly is the point of a continued presence we are paying for in blood and treasure? Are the Iraqi Government going to give us suitable compensation for helping rid them of a tyrant?
You're kidding, right?

Mr Happy

Recruiting_Office_reject said:
But how absolute will the withdrawal be ? How many 'advisors' will we be leaving behind ?
Its all outsourcing these days innit.

We'll probably get some guys from Bangalore to come over.
I feel sorry for the Lads on the way back to brize when the pilot comes on to the intercom to say that they are being redirected to KAF and there will be a subsequent delay of 6 months!

Do not pass go, do not collect OP bonus and please feel free to take a tissue!
Dont forget that he flew into Iraq in 2007 during the conference season to make a similar announcement about troop withdrawals, which was not kept. This is to deflect from pressure at home, unemployment up, inflation not down as far as expected and unpopular part privatisation of the Royal Mail.

I also note that this announcement was not made in Parliament, but on one of his "save the world" trips.
OK cynicism aside.

The timing of the statement is nothing to do with UK PM. Timing has been dictated by Iraq and the complete inability of Maliki / Brits being able to force a second SOFA through the Iraqi Council of Represenatives. The Sunnis will shoot it down backed up by the Sadrists.

So we are leaving anyway. That was never a question. July is perfect. It allows the current troops (20X) to extend and does not mean we have to conduct another RIP.

As for the troops going to Afghanistan - this issue was addressed by Jock Stirrup on the Andrew Marr Show.


"Our top priority is to deliver success, military success in both theatres (Iraq and Afghanistan), but equally I've said for a very long time that the British armed forces are stretched," he said.

"We're doing more than we are structured or resourced to do in the long term. We can do it for a short period but we can't continue doing it ad infinitum.

So we also have to get ourselves back into balance; it's crucial that we reduce the operational tempo for our armed forces, so it cannot be, even if the situation demanded it, it cannot be just a one for one transfer from Iraq to Afghanistan, we have to reduce that tempo.
Further entrenched by David Milliband

Foreign Secretary David Miliband said the UK did not want an "unfair burden".
The Chiefs are generally seen as a mouthpeice of the politicians so if Jock is not reprimanded for sticking his head above the parapet it can generally be assumed he is voicing the wishes of Whitehall.

Shadow foreign secretary William Hague told Sky News he believed the bulk of British troops would be pulled out of Iraq next year but warned that Britain made a "disproportionate contribution" to the Nato effort in Afghanistan.

Asked whether those troops would then be sent to Afghanistan, Mr Hague said: "The British Army is very overstretched and Britain makes a disproportionate contribution to the Nato effort in Afghanistan.

"So I think we would all take some persuading that there would have to be a much larger British contingent there - there's already a very large British contingent."

He added: "We do need the rest of Nato to play its part in Afghanistan and undoubtedly it seems that Barack Obama does intend to send larger US forces and that is part of what is necessary in Afghanistan."
UK in a credit cruch, are we really going to invest MORE money in Afghan during a recession when the rest of Europe refuse to?

It's time to batten our own hatches and ride this b*tch out. :twisted:

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