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The head of the British Army has said the presence of UK armed forces in Iraq "exacerbates the security problems". In an interview in the Daily Mail, Sir Richard Dannatt, Chief of the General Staff, is quoted as saying the British should "get out some time soon".Summarized by Copernic Summarizer
A Ministry of Defence spokesman said Britain had "a clear strategy" and worked with international partners "in support of the democratically elected government of Iraq, under a clear UN mandate."
BBC political editor Nick Robinson described Sir Richard's remarks as "quite extraordinary". He said the new head of British army was "effectively saying we are making the situation worse in Iraq and worse for ourselves around the world by being in Iraq".
The comments "directly contradicted so much of what the government had said", our correspondent added.
In his interview, Sir Richard added that any initial tolerance "has largely turned to intolerance.
Sir Richard, who took on his role in August, also said planning for what happened after the initial successful war military offensive was "poor, probably based more on optimism than sound planning".
Sir Richard told the newspaper: "We are in a Muslim country and Muslims' views of foreigners in their country are quite clear.
He added: "Whatever consent we may have had in the first place, may have turned to tolerance and has largely turned to intolerance."