Thursday, February 22, 2007

Blair implementing Baker-Hamilton it seems

Army commanders wanted bigger and faster troop pullout | Iraq | Guardian Unlimited

"Military chiefs had been pushing for much bigger cuts in the number of British troops in Iraq than those announced yesterday by Tony Blair, defence officials made clear last night.

"For months, army commanders have suggested that their presence on the streets of Basra was doing more harm than good, that it was time to lower expectations and let Iraqi forces take charge of security. They were forced to agree to a more gradual reduction partly in deference to US sensitivities. They also recognised the importance of "managing risk", a senior defence source said."

State of the coalition (by the end of 2007)

Albania 120 non-combat troops, mainly patrolling airport in Mosul; no plans to withdraw

Armenia 46 (0) soldiers, serving as medics, engineers and drivers under Polish command; staying to end of 2007

Australia Around 550 troops training security forces in southern Iraq

Azerbaijan 150 troops; no plans to withdraw

Bosnia-Herzegovina 36 soldiers

Bulgaria 155 in total 120 non-combat troops guarding refugee camp near Baghdad, 35 support personnel

Czech Republic 99 troops

Denmark 460 (0) troops patrolling Basra; to be withdrawn by August

El Salvador 380 soldiers in Hillah; no immediate plans to withdraw

Estonia 35 troops under US command in the Baghdad area

Georgia 900 combat, medical and support personnel under US command in Baqouba; no plans to withdraw or reduce contingent

Kazakhstan 27 military engineers; no plans to withdraw

Latvia 125 troops under Polish command in Diwaniya

Lithuania 60 troops, part of a Danish battalion near Basra

Macedonia 40 troops in Taji

Moldova 11 (0) bomb-defusing experts returned home at end of January

Mongolia 160 troops; no plans to withdraw

Netherlands 15 soldiers as part of Nato mission training police, army officers; no plans to withdraw

Poland 900 (0) non-combat troops; commands multinational force; mission extended to end of 2007

Romania about 600 (0?) troops, most serving under UK command; prime minister Calin Popescu-Tariceanu wants them withdrawn

Slovenia 4 instructors training Iraqi security forces

South Korea 2,300 (0-1,200) troops in Irbil; plans to bring home 1,100; parliament insists on complete withdrawal by end of 2007

UK 7,100 (5,000) in and Basra.

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