British Prime Minister Gordon Brown made a trip to Basra in Iraq to formalize handing over control of the city and area to Iraqi forces. He commented, “not that violence has ended, but we are able to move to provincial Iraqi control.” Brown contacted Prime Minister Maliki who was pleased that within two weeks, Iraqi forces would be in control of the area. However, Basra’s chief of police, Jalil Khalaf, was still uncertain if his forces could manage ensuring security for the area.
British troops are in the process of completely evacuating the area and allowing Iraq police and soldiers to handle security. In a sense, it is good news that Iraq feels confident it can handle security issues, but, the bad news is what happens when British troops are complete withdrawn? Will there be new outbreaks of violence? Have Sunni and Shiites been able to agree on issues in order to ensure that both groups feel comfortable with the Shiite government in control? There are as many questions as answers in the rather complex problem of how to withdraw without opening the doors to renewed violence.