Britain To Pull Out Of Iraq Due To Prince Harry's Deployment
Prince Harry's regiment will learn on Thursday whether it is to be sent to Iraq in the latest round of troop deployments. Defence Secretary Des Browne will brief MPs on Thursday on which military units will be sent to Iraq in April as part of a long-planned rotation of troops, said the Ministry of Defence. A spokesman refused to reveal which units were involved, or to indicate whether Harry's regiment, the Blues and Royals, will be among those deployed. But speculation is rife that the Prince, who is third in line to the throne, will become the first royal to serve a tour of duty in a war-zone since his uncle, the Duke of York, flew helicopters in the Falklands conflict in 1982. Mr Browne's announcement will come in a written statement to the House of Commons, said the MoD.It follows the announcement by Prime Minister Tony Blair that Britain's commitment in Iraq is to be reduced from 7,100 to 5,500 within the next few months as security responsibilities are handed over to homegrown forces. Unconfirmed reports earlier this month suggested that the Prince's unit, 'A' Squadron of the Blues and Royals, had been warned unofficially to expect a six-month tour of duty in southern Iraq starting in April. They are expected to be deployed as part of a Household Cavalry detachment as 1 Mechanised Brigade replaces 19 Light Brigade, which is returning home after a six-month tour of duty. It is not yet known what duties the Prince - known in the Army as Cornet Wales - will perform if he is sent to Iraq. But Prince Harry has insisted he wants to be treated the same as any ordinary soldier, rather than being kept away from harm in a headquarters job.