Well that Giuliana Sgrena bitch got the result she wanted with her 'kidnap'…
Italy to Reduce Troops in Iraq in Sept.
Tuesday March 15, 2005 8:16 PM
By FRANCES D'EMILIO
Associated Press Writer
ROME (AP) - Premier Silvio Berlusconi, facing rising opposition to the war in Iraq and public outcry over the deadly U.S. shooting of an Italian agent in Baghdad, announced Tuesday that Italy will start withdrawing its 3,000 troops from Iraq beginning in September.
``Already in September we will begin a progressive reduction of the number of our soldiers in Iraq,'' Berlusconi said during the taping of a state TV talk show that will air later Tuesday.
Withdrawing Italian troops ``will depend on the capability of the Iraqi government to give itself structures for acceptable security,'' the ANSA news agency quoted Berlusconi as saying. ``I've spoken about it with (British Prime Minister) Tony Blair, and it's the public opinion of our countries that expects this decision.''
Italian government officials already indicated that if Iraq can handle its own security, Italy would consider withdrawing.
In Washington, White House spokesman Scott McClellan said, ``We certainly appreciate the contributions of the Italians. They have served and sacrificed alongside Iraqis and alongside other coalition forces.''
Last fall, Italy's defense minister said coalition troops in Iraq could be gradually cut after Iraq's elections in January, but he did not cite a timetable.
Opposition to the war and to Italy's involvement in Iraq is strong here. Berlusconi faced renewed pressure to pull troops out after the March 4 killing in Baghdad of an Italian intelligence agent, Nicola Calipari, as he escorted a recently released hostage to freedom.
Calipari was killed by U.S. troops, who mistakenly opened fire on his vehicle as it headed to the Baghdad airport with freed hostage Giuliana Sgrena.
The government made it clear it was not considering a pullout following the agent's death.
When asked whether the shooting played a role in Berlusconi's decision, McClellan said, ``I'm not sure I'd make a connection there ... I haven't heard any comment to that effect from Italian officials.''
On Tuesday, the Italian contingent suffered its 21st casualty in Iraq when a soldier accidentally shot himself in the head during target practice, officials said.
In a separate development, Italy's lower house of parliament approved the extension of financing for troops in Iraq through June. The Senate already voted to extend the mission last month.
During the same TV taping, Berlusconi confirmed he will run again for premier in general elections scheduled for next year.
how the hell did that happen accidentally?
I guess the USA and Britain will have to goes at it alone.
Always ends up the same… the 'Anglos' doing rest of the worlds 'dirty work' for 'em.
Amen. Everybody wants to second-guess us (and the UK) and talk shit, but there will be no shortage of countries trying to take credit when all this is over.