Does this report suggest that there could soon be a timetable for British troops withdrawing from Iraq? Nouri al-Maliki, the Iraqi Prime Minister is said to have told Gordon Brown that he wants the Iraqi authorities to replace the role of the British troops in Basra in three month's time. Basra is the last province in which we play this role.
The report goes on, however, to say that "Maliki expressed hope to Brown that British forces would only play a supporting role" afterwards. But presumably even that more limited role could itself come to be time-limited.
Such moves would, of course, begin to isolate the position of America. A position which has its own pros and cons. But Maliki's statement does allow Gordon Brown to see some light at the end of this tunnel.