Twin Attacks Reduce Odds of British Withdrawal

Two attacks against British troops in Basra on Friday left one soldier dead and ten wounded, the Times reports.

Two of the wounded were said to be in a serious condition and one was in critical.

In one of the attacks, a Land Rover patrol in southern Basra was hit by a roadside bomb. The vehicle was blown off the road, leaving one soldier dead and three others wounded, one critically

Almost simulteanously, a mortar or rocket exploded in Britain’s main Basra base, injuring seven troops, two “very seriously” according to a spokesman.

In recent times the heavily protected base has come under almost daily attack.

Although there has been much media talk about a reduction of British troops in Iraq, these latest attacks highlight the increasing dangers they face.

In spite of the mainstream media’s speculation however, the deteriorating security situation also tends to reduce the likelehood of an early withdrawal of British troops from Iraq.

Although ministers have refrained from giving any firm withdrawal timetable, such media speculation had raised hopes that several thousand troops could be pulled out by the spring or early summer.

However, that prospect now seems increasingly remote.