British Troops Pull Out Of Basra

UK ready to hand over city to Iraq army
By Peter Fearon,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 3, 2007 7:59 AM CDT
A British army corporal lowers the Union Jack during a ceremony to mark transfer of control of a British military base in Basra, 550 kilometers (340 miles) southeast of Baghdad, Iraq. British soldiers...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – British troops yesterday began pulling out of the center of Basra as they prepared to hand over control of the southern port city to the Iraqi army. A small UK force of about 500, which had been headquartered in Saddam Hussein's former palace, moved to Basra's airport, reports the Guardian. Britain's other Basra bases have already been abandoned.  

The pullout has triggered tension between US and British officials. A former British general accused former US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld  of ignoring his warning that Iraq could slip into chaos. "They simply shut it out," he said. "The US had convinced themselves that Iraq would emerge reasonably quickly as a stable democracy."