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British Troops Complete Withdrawal from Basra Base

The last British troops left the Iraqi city of Basra over the weekend, putting the southern city in Iraqi hands. Independent Television News reports on Britain's withdrawal and what it may mean for fighting in the region.

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  • JONATHAN RUGMAN, ITV News Correspondent:

    Moving on and out. Under cover of darkness, British tanks rolling through the streets of Iraq's second-largest city. Iraqis reportedly cheered their departure, not that we were allowed to be there to see it, for these pictures were supplied by the Ministry of Defense. This operation shrouded in secrecy and high security, for like the end of many a British colonial enterprise, this was no victory, merely recognition that Britain's time is almost up.

    LT. COL. PATRICK SANDER, Commanding Officer, 4 Rifles: This marks the point where there will be no more British forces based in Basra City itself. So we will withdraw back to the contingency operating base out of the airport.

    And this is the point, really, where we ask the Iraqis, the Iraqi security forces, to start to take the responsibility for the security of Basra themselves. I think that's the right thing to do, because the longer that we're here, the more they are — well, the less inclined that they are to run things for themselves.