From The Guardian
Iraq troops ‘ready for UK handover’
Prime minister Nouri Maliki has told British MPs that Iraqi security forces would be ready to take over security in Basra from UK forces at the beginning of September.
Maliki told a visiting delegation from the House of Commons defence committee on Tuesday that Iraqi forces “have already begun to take principal responsibility for the security mission, with the British forces playing the role of support when needed”, according to a statement from the prime minister’s office.
He reassured them of the “readiness of the Iraqi forces to receive security duties in Basra at the beginning of September”.
Basra, Iraq’s second largest city and a major oil hub, has seen frequent violence between Shiite militias vying for power, including assassinations and frequent attacks on British bases around the city.
Britain has withdrawn hundreds of troops from Iraq, leaving a force of around 5,500 based mainly on the fringes of Basra, 340 miles south east of Baghdad.