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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

UK contingency plans for rapid withdrawal from Iraq

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

London, March 22, IRNA
UK Contingency Plans-Iraq
The British government has plans drawn up to organize a rapid withdrawal of its troops from Iraq in circumstance of operational difficulties, Defence Minister Lord Drayson has admitted.

"In the event that conditions on the ground required a withdrawal, there are contingencies available to military commanders," Drayson said.

"These include the use of the theatre reserve force and the ability to reassign assets as required," he said in a written parliamentary reply published Tuesday.

Last month Prime Minister Tony Blair announced a drawdown in the number of British troops in Iraq from 7,100 to 5,500 in the next few months.

But the withdrawal was reported to be less than expected due to President George W Bush putting pressure on Britain to delay plans in the wake of the US sending 21,000 extra troops designed to stem the collapse of security in Iraq.

Drayson said military commanders in theatre and at the Permanent Joint Headquarters in the UK "keep the operational situation and intelligence picture in theatre under constant review."

"Intelligence and operational information feeds the planning process, which takes into account current and predicted trends," he told peers in the House of Lords.

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