During a surprise visit to Iraq today, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced that Britain will cease all military operations by May 31, 2009, and that all British troops and equipment will be out of the country in approximately two months after that. That will leave the United States as the only remaining foreign military presence in the country
The British withdrawal of its 4,100 troops had been anticipated. The war, which has killed at least 178 British troops, has been unpopular in Britain and became a liability to the governing Labor Party under Brown’s predecessor, Tony Blair. When Brown became prime minister in 2007, he made clear that he planned to reduce greatly the British presence in Iraq.