New leadership in Great Britain has brought fresh thinking on Iraq, and the White House is worried.
It appears the British Prime Minister Gordon Brown may take his country in a different direction than his predecessor. The London Times reports:
A SENIOR Downing Street aide has sounded out Washington on the possibility of an early British military withdrawal from Iraq.
Simon McDonald, the prime minister’s chief foreign policy adviser, left the impression that he was “doing the groundwork” for Gordon Brown, according to one of those he consulted.
While the British have not made any formal statements, discussion of withdrawal of military forces from Iraq within the UK on a level so close to the Prime Minister has the White House worried:
Behind the scenes, however, American officials are picking up what they believe are signals that a change of British policy on Iraq is imminent.
McDonald, a senior diplomat who formerly ran the Iraq desk at the Foreign Office, was in Washington this month to prepare for the summit. He asked a select group of US foreign policy experts what they believed the effect would be of a British pull-out from Iraq.
“The general feeling was that he was doing the groundwork for a Brown conversation,” said a source. Most of the experts felt it was a question of when, not if, Britain would leave.
The British feel they cannot fight two wars, and see Afghanistan more worth a fight. Could be an interesting week at Camp David.