The final contingent of British troops left Basra Palace and the 500 men departed for the Basra Airport where remaining troops are clustered. Total control was theoretically turned over to the Iraqi army, but there are various militia groups vying for power within the city. British troops left amidst criticism from American military leaders who claimed their departure made things more difficult and British military leaders who blamed the entire Iraq mess on Americans who were warned by their allies of what would ensue, but refused to listen to advice. A Basra schoolteacher, Hassan Ibrahim, captured the feeling of many Iraqis by saying, “One thing we are worried about are rumours that the Americans may come to Basra to replace the British. We see what is happening in Baghdad and we don’t want that here.”
The school teacher undoubtedly captured the essence of America’s madness in Iraq. The British leave and people are fearful because Americans might be coming.