TIMELINE UPDATE….Britain is edging ever closer to a firm timetable for pulling out of Iraq:

Most British troops should have been withdrawn from Iraq by the summer of 2008 under a phased plan disclosed to The Daily Telegraph yesterday by the most senior Army officer in Baghdad. The first movements could come within weeks, said Lt Gen Nick Houghton.

He detailed the timetable to end months of speculation over when the first of Britain’s 8,000 contingent will be brought home.

….The general said a gradual withdrawal needed to begin soon to ensure that the Iraqi people understood that British troops had no intention of staying for ever. “There is a fine line between staying too long and leaving too soon.

Later in the story a Ministry of Defense spokesman is at pains to say that no firm decision has been made and that withdrawal plans depend on the formation of a national unity government. Duly noted. Still, this is about the firmest indication of a timeline yet.