Iraqi parliament members Tuesday approved the return of a limited number of British soldiers to Iraq to help protect its southern oil ports. According to the AP, Iraq's parliament passed the security agreement with Britain months after the military contingent was forced to withdraw because a United Nations mandate allowing British forces to legally operate in the country was expiring.
Under the agreement in parliament Tuesday, some 100 British soldiers would return for about a year to provide protection to the oil facilities and train Iraqi troops.
According to the AP, the deal limits British military operations in Iraq strictly to naval operations at the southern port of Umm Qasr.
American military officials have repeatedly said Iraq has still not purchased the needed navy ships and patrol planes. Tuesday's deal drew objections and criticism from Sadrist lawmakers, who walked out of during the vote. "We left parliament when the voting began because we do not believe in this," said Sadrist lawmaker Falah Shanshal. "We wanted our objection recorded."