Perspective: Did the Brits Lose Southern Iraq?
The White House may be hailing Britain's withdrawal of at least 1,600 of its troops from southern Iraq as evidence of progress and a vindication of the Administration's war strategy, but that conclusion is far from unanimous.
Anthony Cordesman, a Middle East military expert and former national security aide to John McCain , says London's drawdown only cements Shi'ite power in southern Iraq. Shi'ite police in the region have been conducting sometimes deadly sect-based operations against Sunni residents for months, he says, and local politics have devolved into "a fractured mess" delinked from national political parties. "The coming British cuts in many ways reflect the political reality that the British `lost' the south more than a year ago," Cordesman, who has traveled to the region frequently, writes in a Wednesday analysis from his office at the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies.
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