UK army chief calls for Iraq pullout

Britain’s top army commander has said the UK military presence in Iraq was exacerbating the security problems, calling for British withdrawal “sometimes soon” from the occupied Arab country.

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Britain’s top army commander has said the UK military presence in Iraq was exacerbating the security problems, calling for British withdrawal “sometimes soon” from the occupied Arab country.

“We are in a Muslim country and Muslims’ views of foreigners in their country are quite clear,” General Richard Dannatt, chief of the general staff, said in an interview with The Daily Mail on October 13.

“As a foreigner, you can be welcomed by being invited in a country, but we weren’t invited certainly by those in Iraq at the time.”

Without a UN authorisation, the US and Britain invaded Iraq in March 2003 on claims that it was stockpiling weapons of mass destruction. But the US-Anglo allegation was refuted by a later US presidential report which said the Bush administration made the case for war despite intelligence doubts and strong voices of dissent.

Britain has 7,200 troops in southern Iraq patrolling an area around Basra, Iraq’s second largest city. Some 119 British troops have been killed in Iraq since the US-led invasion in 2003.

According to the BBC, the number of British soldiers deserting military service over the US-led occupation of Iraq has been on the rise with more than 1,000 personnel went absent without leave and failed to return since the beginning of the Iraq war in 2003.