The British Army is to start pulling troops out of Iraq next month despite the deteriorating security situation in much of the country, The Observer has learnt.
The main British combat force in Iraq, about 5,000-strong, will be reduced by around a third by the end of October during a routine rotation of units. ***
Senior officers say the scaling back of the British commitment in Iraq is a sign of their success in keeping order and helping reconstruction. But both Basra and Maysan have seen heavy combat recently, with some units sustaining up to 35 per cent casualties, and remains restive. The al-Mahdi army, which was responsible for most of the fighting, remains heavily armed.
'Whatever they say, fewer troops mean less capability,' a military expert told The Observer . 'You need as many boots on the ground as you can get for low-intensity warfare and peace-keeping operations.'This morning on Meet the Press, Sen. Tom Daschel revealed that "if South Dakota were a country, we'd be the seventh largest coalition partner today."
FYI: The nation of South Dakota would have a population of just 764,309 people.