[QODLink]
Middle East
Last British forces withdraw from Iraq
Small naval unit left to train Iraqis in Umm al-Qasr pulls out, completing eight-year mission that left 179 troops dead.
Last Modified: 23 May 2011 05:25
British ground forces finished withdrawing from Iraq in 2009, leaving a small naval contingent [GALLO/GETTY]

The last of Britain's military forces have withdrawn from Iraq after more than eight years of fighting militants and training security forces.

Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said the British Royal Navy on Sunday handed over its mission of patrolling waters off the southern Iraqi port city of Umm Qasr on the Persian Gulf.

"The Iraqi Navy are ready, so now is the time for the UK to dress back and let them complete the mission they were created for," said Brigadier Max Marriner, the British commander in Iraq.

Al-Dabbagh said 80 British sailors had been helping to train Iraq's Navy. He said that role now will be filled by American sailors through the end of the year.

British forces were part of the initial 2003 invasion of Iraq that ousted Saddam Hussein, and the last remaining UK combat troops withdrew in July 2009.

The British Ministry of Defence says 179 British troops have died in Iraq since 2003. When Prime Minister Tony Blair sided with US President George W. Bush and dedicated Britain to the Iraq war, his unpopular decision sparked some of the largest demonstrations in a generation.

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Western fighters have streamed into the Middle East to help 'liberate' Arab countries such as Syria and Libya.
The Pakistani government is proposing reform of the nation's madrassas, which are accused of fostering terrorism.
Weaving and handicrafts are being re-taught to a younger generation of Iraqi Kurds, but not without challenges.
The author argues that in the new economy, it's people, not skills or majors, that have lost value.
Featured
After years of rapid growth, Argentina is bracing for another economic crisis as inflation eats up purchasing power.
Deaths of 13 Sherpas in Nepal has shone a light on dangerous working conditions in the Everest-climbing industry.
Al Jazeera investigation uncovers allegations of beatings and rape in Kenya's ongoing anti-terrorism operation.
Incumbent Joyce Banda has a narrow lead, but anything is possible in Malawi's May 20 elections.
Western fighters have streamed into the Middle East to help 'liberate' Arab countries such as Syria and Libya.
join our mailing list