British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, in an attempt to shore up his poll ratings, has announced that Britain will cut its forces in Iraq by half in the spring.
This will reduce the British presence in Iraq to around 2,500 troops. It is expected that there will be a total pullout before the next British general election (now expected to be in 2009).
Quite how well this announcement went down in Washington is unclear. However, some wise heads in the media (LA Times) note that the US Administration should follow suit:
"So the British will not leave behind a peaceful Basra, but they are nonetheless right to leave it. The United States should take note and recognize that it is a delusion to believe that any foreign occupier can stop Iraqi factions hellbent on fighting for power. We owe the Iraqis our best efforts at mediation, but to insist on stability as a prerequisite for withdrawal is to commit to indefinite and fruitless military occupation."