By Caroline Wyatt
Defence correspondent, BBC News
During the invasion of Iraq in 2003, 46,000 British personnel were engaged in the operation.
That number is now down to 4,100 and could decrease even further next year, according to the prime minister.
Gordon Brown's words "a fundamental change of mission" mean a dramatic scaling down of Britain's troops in southern Iraq from early next year.
It may not be a complete withdrawal, but more than five years since the invasion, it is at last looking possible that British troops could leave Basra - and leave behind them a functioning place.For the full story click here for the BBC News website