BASRA, Iraq - British forces announced their withdrawal from a base shared with the Iraqi police in Basra.
The departure is part of plans by the British military to completely withdraw from the city, Alsumaria reported Monday. The base is expected to be completely in control of Iraqi security forces within one or two weeks.
Iraqi Army Border Guard Brig. Ali Ibrahim says security forces will be ready to take full responsibility of the base when British forces pull out.
But the Iraqis’ optimism faces pessimism from numerous foreign officials. The Washington’s Center for Strategic and International Studies’ Anthony Cordesman warned that British withdrawal could encourage Shiite extremism in Iran.
“British weakness and failure in the south has both encouraged Shiite extremism and partially opened the door to Iran,” he said.
He also said U.S. forces in north and central Iraq shouldn't follow the British commanders’ model.
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