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As the U.S. Surges, Britain Withdraws

Posted on Jan 24, 2007
Blair and Bush

As the U.S. prepares to escalate the war, Britain’s plan to withdraw up to 3,000 troops from southern Iraq has added tension to an already strained relationship.

British officials have made an effort to keep up a good front, but the war’s overwhelming unpopularity and a shifting political landscape suggest that the UK’s role as abused housewife in the coalition of the willing may be coming to an end.  Time to step it up, Denmark!


Signs of tension between the US and Britain over London’s plans to withdraw some of the 7,000 UK troops in southern Iraq from this spring emerged yesterday. Speaking on the day that the foreign secretary, Margaret Beckett, said she remained confident that British troops would start to be withdrawn from Basra in the spring, the US ambassador in Baghdad, Zalmay Khalilzad, said he wanted Britain to keep its troops at its current level.

Mr Khalilzad said: “We would like to coordinate and for us to have a joint plan, and we are talking about this. It is clear our preference would be ‘the longer we stay together here the better’.” He said talks between Washington and London over the issue were continuing and he had no doubt that a “mutually acceptable” agreement could be reached.

London has been eager to play down any conflict between the US decision to mount a 20,000-troop surge in Baghdad, including an attempt to wrest back control of the Shia-dominated Sadr City, and the British decision to start withdrawing from the Shia south. Britain is planning to announce phased troop withdrawals from the streets of Basra, with as many as 3,000 troops sent home, or retained at Basra airbase and on the border with Iran.

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By Spinoza, January 28, 2007 at 12:39 am Link to this comment
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Something over 80% of the Brits are opposed to the war.  So why are they still there?  Apparently they are refusing to support the attack on Iran.  So far it looks like the Bushites will be attacking Iran. It looks like it might involve nuclear weapons and be a joint attack by Israel and the USA.

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By eddie, January 25, 2007 at 1:40 pm Link to this comment
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The in an advance state of readiness to wage war on Iran.To revers the tide requires a massive campaign of networking and outreach to inform peole across the land,nationally and internationally,in neighborhoods,workplaces,parishes,schools,universities,municipalities,on the dangers of a us.sponsord war, which contemplates the use of nucler weapons. The message shoud be loud and clear:,,here link: You need read it!;

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By Quy Tran, January 25, 2007 at 10:58 am Link to this comment
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Bush will be bitten by his poodle Blair. “Never keep bee in your sleeves”, the old Orient wise men said that.

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By Rodney Matthews, January 25, 2007 at 10:11 am Link to this comment
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Tony Blair once considered a great leader lost his greatness and legacy by becoming a poodle of the Bush adminstration. Britan has finally decided to cut its losses and bring the majority of its troops home. Its a little too late for Tony Blair whose legacy will go down as a failure the same as his partner in war crimes George W. Bush.

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By Jerry, January 25, 2007 at 9:17 am Link to this comment
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So far as the Miimum Wage, Kennedy must know that the worst case demand from the Republicans hasn’t been part of these negotiations. I could be wrong, but the Democrats can move forward lots of bills and then get them jammed up and do nothing, if they refuse to negotiate.
  As I said, the Republicans in the House and the Senate simply aren’t persuaded, enough, to get their butts in gear and defy the President on Iraq.  More Americans will have to die, and millions of us will have to send letters and emails to the Republicans before they find their balls.

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By kevin99999, January 24, 2007 at 10:08 pm Link to this comment
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If Democrats have any guts they should reject tax breaks for business even if it means death of minimum wage. But unfortunately they are spineless.

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By Jerry, January 24, 2007 at 9:25 pm Link to this comment
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I had wondered about this.
  The Brits, I’d guess, are very unhappy with our President and his goofy “surge.” I can only hope that the British have had quite enough of their shotgun marriage with Bush. The British people must speak up, and demand that Labor continue to withdraw forces from Iraq. If they must go anywhere, they should be diverted to Afghanistan.
  Let the Americans, buttressed by cowardly Republican congressional representatives, bleed themselves white in Iraq. That appears to be the only way the diehard Republican senators and congress men and women will get the message. They’ve talked tough for a few days, but today, when push came to shove, they exposed their cowardice. 
  In the meantime, the level of fighting in Iraq is going to ratchet up and up some more.
  With 30 outposts scattered throughout Baghdad, apparently it never entered the minds of the genius generals that supplying them over land, or in the air, will be like Goering promising he could supply Stalingrad in the height of the winter. Remember: it’s going to be sand blowing time soon.
  Convoys diverted; misdirected; attacked by all kinds of weapons the entire way through the labyrinth of Baghdad streets?
  And sending Peshmerga Kurds into Sunni and Shia Baghdad! Now that’s really a prescription for success!
  Write the Republicans in your congressional delegation.
  Remind them, if they’re up for reelection in ‘08, that you’ll not forget their cowardice.

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