Denmark Also Withdrawing Troops From Iraq:
The prime minister said Wednesday that his country will withdraw its 460-member contingent from southern Iraq by August and transfer security responsibilities to Iraqi forces, and that the decision had been made in conjunction with the Iraqi government and Britain, under whose command the Danish forces are serving near Basra.Lithuania also said it was considering withdrawing its 53 troops.
Howard, Downer, Bush and Cheney will all be delighted at this excellent news - what progress is being made!
Or maybe not. Here's Juan Cole's analysis of the situation around Basra today:
This is a rout, there should be no mistake. The fractious Shiite militias and tribes of Iraq's South have made it impossible for the British to stay. They already left Sadr-controlled Maysan province, as well as sleepy Muthanna. They moved the British consulate to the airport because they couldn't protect it in Basra. They are taking mortar and rocket fire at their bases every night. Raiding militia HQs has not resulted in any permanent change in the situation. Basra is dominated by 4 paramilitaries, who are fighting turf wars with one another and with the Iraqi government over oil smuggling rights.
Blair is not leaving Basra because the British mission has been accomplished. He is leaving because he has concluded that it cannot be, and that if he tries any further it will completely sink the Labor Party, perhaps for decades to come.