Britain handed over security in Basra to Iraqi police on Sunday. It was a moment heavy in symbolism, and indeed the withdrawal from Iraq's second largest city marks yet another phase in Britain winding down its presence in the country.
Basra has been the scene of bloody turf wars between rival Shia factions, criminals and smugglers in recent years, even though the city has avoided the sectarian warfare that has plagued the rest of Iraq.
But what are the British forces leaving behind? Can Iraqi security forces do the job? Can they do what no one has managed to do in the region, and get a grip on the city's squabbling militias?
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This episode of Inside Story aired on Sunday, December 16, 2007
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Source: Al Jazeera