In a speech today Prime Minister Gordon Brown of England announced he would be reducing troops to 2,500 soldiers in early 2008. That is certainly newsworthy, however the reasoning behind it to me is astounding. Brown explained that since British forces “handed over our base in Basra City in early September, the present security situation has been calmer.” As evidence, he noted, “In the last month, there have been five indirect fire attacks on Basra Air Station compared with 87 in July.”
Indeed residents of Basra say the streets of their city are much quieter: Residents of Iraq's southern city of Basra have begun strolling riverfront streets again after four years of fear, their city much quieter since British troops withdrew from the grand Saddam Hussein-era Basra Palace.
Political assassinations and sectarian violence continue, some city officials say, but on a much smaller scale than at any time since British troops moved into the city after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion. Watch the video above: