British troops leave Basra city
In great secrecy, military commanders gave the go-ahead yesterday for the final withdrawal of the 500 remaining soldiers at Basra Palace who have handed over the base to the Iraq army.
The move is a highly significant event in the bloody four-year mission in Iraq, as it could pave the way for the withdrawal of the main British force from Iraq next year. The withdrawal from the centre of Basra is part of the preparations for the eventual handover of Basra province to Iraqi control.
Despite some strong criticism from American commentators last month that the military had lost control of Basra, the US commander in Iraq, Gen David Petraeus "signed off" the withdrawal last night. Link