informazione dal medio oriente
    information from middle east
    المعلومات من الشرق الأوسط

[ home page] | [ tutte le notizie/all news ] | [ download banner] | [ ultimo aggiornamento/last update 28/08/2019 00:45 ] 35740

english italiano

  [ Subscribe our newsletter!   -   Iscriviti alla nostra newsletter! ]  


Uruknet on Alexa

End Gaza Siege
End Gaza Siege


:: Segnala Uruknet agli amici. Clicka qui.
:: Invite your friends to Uruknet. Click here.

:: Segnalaci un articolo
:: Tell us of an article

Instructions to troops in Basra: keep fingers crossed
Agonising decisions in the build-up to withdrawal

Anthony Loyd, Time

August 28, 2007

The clock is nearing midnight for the withdrawal of the beleaguered British troops from their base in the palace in Basra. The date at which the 650 soldiers will retire from their position to join their 5,000 comrades at the airport outside the city is imminent. In the two months since they arrived in Iraq this battle group has been under virtual siege, its palace quarters subject to the highest rate of incoming mortar and rocket fire anywhere in Iraq. Little surprise, then, that they have already suffered the worst casualty rate of any British unit serving in Iraq, including that of forces involved in the 2003 invasion.

Some senior officers have attempted to portray the withdrawal from the palace –– the prelude to a wider British disengagement from southern Iraq next year –– as timely and practical. In an interview last month Air Chief Marshal Sir Jock Stirrup, the Chief of Defence Staff, said: "Our mission there was to get the place and the people to a state where the Iraqis could run that part of the country if they chose to and we’re very nearly there."

The Americans do not agree. Over the past two weeks, senior US officers and intelligence officials in Baghdad have talked disparagingly of a British "defeat" in Basra, and cautioned that British withdrawal would be followed by turmoil as local militias fight each other for dominance.

Little in Basra suggests it is ready to be handed over to Iraqi forces. Iraqi government control, so much as it exists at all in the city, is perilously weak. The city’s governor, a leading donor to the Fadilah militia that controls many of Basra’s oil refineries, was sacked by the Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki, over a month ago, but has refused to leave his post.

The city’s police force has barely been reformed from the Frankenstein monstrosity of death squad members and mafia thugs first recruited and trained by the British in the immediate aftermath of the invasion. Basra’s three main militias have penetrated every corner of local office and security apparatus. Some city neighbourhoods have become almost no-go areas for coalition forces, ringed with IEDs (improvised explosive devices), and governed by the gun law of militiamen. Hardly "mission accomplished" for British foreign policy aims.

Iraqi troops from the 10th Division, already in the north of the city, are scarcely better prepared to take over control of Basra. British officers say that the 10th Division will not be ready to hold its own until at least October, weeks after the planned departure from the palace.

If the schedule for this withdrawal is adhered to, British soldiers will find themselves in the unenviable situation of remaining responsible for the security of a city from which they have withdrawn. Any troops ordered to move back into Basra will first have to fight their way in from the airport, situated beyond the city’s western reaches: a high-risk gambit.

But there is an argument for optimism, of a sort. The British Government points out that 90 per cent of Basra’s violence is aimed at British soldiers. The logic goes that once these troops have left the city, the violence will dramatically diminish. The examples of the three southern provinces already handed by the British Army to the Iraqis tend to back this argument. Furthermore, two outstations in Basra city already transferred from British to Iraqi control, the Shatt-al-Arab hotel and Old State Building, both of which were heavily attacked during the British tenure, became peaceful almost overnight once in the hands of Iraqi troops.

The political dimension of this argument suggests that the presence of British forces divides Shia loyalties, and once they have pulled back the Shia will find their own peaceful equilibrium. Iranian infuence will then diminish. Despite a shared faith, Baswaris have historically proved themselves violently opposed to Iranian power. Though elements of Basra’s most powerful militia, the Jaish al-Mahdi (JAM), are financed, trained and equipped by Iran, once the British leave, it is argued, JAM will have to reject this backing to maintain their nationalistic credentials.

Basra will become neither an Iranian satellite nor a Beirut civil war battlefield, but more of a Palermo-style mafia fiefdom. Not quite what the British had in mind for Basra, but better than the situation in Baghdad.

The pessimists, among them the Americans, predict that once the British withdraw, the fledgling Iraqi Army and the corrupt police, themselves riven by factional loyalties, will be powerless to stop the militias fighting each other for control of Basra’s vast potential oil wealth. The violence aimed at the British, will simply be redirected into bloody factionalism. Iran will capitalise on the vacuum and buy out the JAM’s nationalist convictions with money and guns.

As yet no one knows what will happen. But on one matter all seem in accord. The lot of coalition troops will improve little in the immediate aftermath of a British withdrawal from Basra palace. JAM –– keen to portray itself as the force that ejected Britain from Basra –– has everything to gain by intensifying its rocket attacks against the airbase. British soldiers, with inadequate cover overhead, are liable to be killed in their beds by Iranian-supplied rockets. Furthermore, key supply lines from Kuwait to Baghdad, vital to US troops in the centre of Iraq, will become the subject of invigorated JAM attacks.

The endgame phase for Basra and the British may yet be long and painful. The hasty decisions to deploy British forces to southern Iraq in the first place were ill-judged. But for the sake of British troops there now, cohesion with their American allies and the future of the Baswaris themselves, it is essential that the plans to withdraw the British from southern Iraq are not dogged by the same malaise.

:: Article nr. 35740 sent on 28-aug-2007 02:38 ECT


Link: www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/guest_contributors/article2337306.e

:: The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website.

The section for the comments of our readers has been closed, because of many out-of-topics.
Now you can post your own comments into our Facebook page: www.facebook.com/uruknet

Warning: include(./share/share2.php): failed to open stream: No such file or directory in /home/content/25/8427425/html/vhosts/uruknet/colonna-centrale-pagina-ansi.php on line 385

Warning: include(): Failed opening './share/share2.php' for inclusion (include_path='.:/usr/local/php5_6/lib/php') in /home/content/25/8427425/html/vhosts/uruknet/colonna-centrale-pagina-ansi.php on line 385

[ Printable version ] | [ Send it to a friend ]

[ Contatto/Contact ] | [ Home Page ] | [Tutte le notizie/All news ]

Uruknet on Twitter

:: RSS updated to 2.0

:: English
:: Italiano

:: Uruknet for your mobile phone:

Uruknet on Facebook

:: Motore di ricerca / Search Engine

the web

:: Immagini / Pictures


The newsletter archive

L'Impero si è fermato a Bahgdad, by Valeria Poletti

Modulo per ordini


:: Newsletter

:: Comments

Haq Agency
Haq Agency - English

Haq Agency - Arabic

AMSI - Association of Muslim Scholars in Iraq - English

AMSI - Association of Muslim Scholars in Iraq - Arabic

Font size
1 2 3

:: All events


[ home page] | [ tutte le notizie/all news ] | [ download banner] | [ ultimo aggiornamento/last update 28/08/2019 00:45 ]

Uruknet receives daily many hacking attempts. To prevent this, we have 10 websites on 6 servers in different places. So, if the website is slow or it does not answer, you can recall one of the other web sites: www.uruknet.info www.uruknet.de www.uruknet.biz www.uruknet.org.uk www.uruknet.com www.uruknet.org - www.uruknet.it www.uruknet.eu www.uruknet.net www.uruknet.web.at.it

:: This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more info go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.
::  We always mention the author and link the original site and page of every article.
uruknet, uruklink, iraq, uruqlink, iraq, irak, irakeno, iraqui, uruk, uruqlink, saddam hussein, baghdad, mesopotamia, babilonia, uday, qusay, udai, qusai,hussein, feddayn, fedayn saddam, mujaheddin, mojahidin, tarek aziz, chalabi, iraqui, baath, ba'ht, Aljazira, aljazeera, Iraq, Saddam Hussein, Palestina, Sharon, Israele, Nasser, ahram, hayat, sharq awsat, iraqwar,irakwar All pictures

url originale


I nostri partner - Our Partners:

TEV S.r.l.

TEV S.r.l.: hosting


Progetto Niz

niz: news management



digitbrand: ".it" domains


Worlwide Mirror Web-Sites:
www.uruknet.info (Main)
www.uruknet.us (USA)
www.uruknet.su (Soviet Union)
www.uruknet.ru (Russia)
www.uruknet.it (Association)
www.uruknet.mobi (For Mobile Phones)
www.uruknet.org.uk (UK)
www.uruknet.de (Germany)
www.uruknet.ir (Iran)
www.uruknet.eu (Europe)
wap.uruknet.info (For Mobile Phones)
rss.uruknet.info (For Rss Feeds)

Vat Number: IT-97475012153