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So will our thoroughly decent Foreign Secretary be taking her trusty caravan and parking up at Basrah palace to over-see the handover?
Does Phoney-Tony really believe the situation is in anyway stable enough for British military forces to be withdrawn?
IF, and its a big if, we withdraw, how long before the 'left-wing' press accuse the British military of culpable genocide?
The Iraqi security services are so badly infiltrated with Sadr/Iranian/Syrian insurgents the whole area will become a bloodbath in short order.
What? Like the Kosovo Spearhead commitment we still have? No chance. The Bns they will need in readiness will need all the kit they have now. If they have to go back in they will need WR, Mastiff, ECM up the ying yang etc and key to all this, all the training that goes with it to maintain that level of readiness for multiple Bns. Our training budget won't support it and if you think Brown will with a wartime top up, I think you are mistaken.
No - if we pull out, there may be a little posturing but I don't think we will be able to go back in on a limited deployment basis. If we come out, we are out for good.
The Dear Leader claims in his latest interview (with Andrew Marr, questions along the lines of "why are you so wonderful Prime Minister?") that Op Sinbad was a success and troop numbers can be reduced soon.
The Screws article looks like a standard propaganda piece dressed up as news.
There are various versions of reality:
1. Sinbad was a success. Troops can come home.
2. Sinbad was inconclusive, unsuccessful or temporarily successful. Troops can come home anyway, with the remaining troops in theatre located in fortified barracks.
3. Troops stay in theatre regardless of the success of Sinbad because Dubya says so.
4. Troops are taken out of Basra and sent elsewhere because Dubya says so.
"BRITAIN will hand control of Basra province to the Iraqi army and police within months. "
No we won't definitely hand control over. We can recommend that Basra attains PIC, but ultimately the decision for PIC is taken by MNCI and the Iraqis. Nice attempt to spin though but ultimately embarassing if Petraeus or Maliki said no!
"Mr Blair's advisers hope the announcement will give Labour a boost in the spring council elections"
Nice attempt to show blairs true colours - happy to risk the boys lives providing it gives my cronies the chance to shine at the election.
Is it just me or was anyone else getting the feeling that Basra was getting worse?
Now all of a sudden hand it over.
Blair is a fcuking coward! All he is doing is giving the enemy a so called victory. They see it as a big win. Surely somebody somewhere has a better exit strategy than the cnut who came up with "We'll just get off when the iraqi army do more than 2 patrols a day"
Yielding to American pressure, Tony Blair will announce this week that a reduction of British troop levels in Iraq is to be delayed.
Military chiefs have been pushing for an early "drawdown" of forces in Iraq, amid complaints that the armed forces are becoming overstretched by increasing commitments, especially in Afghanistan. Plans had been drawn up to cut the number of bases in south-eastern Iraq and to reduce the British contingent by about 3,000 by the end of the year, from the present level of around 7,100.
But a senior defence source said the Prime Minister would announce a slowdown in the planning: the reduction of about 1,000 troops planned for April will be postponed to August.
Last month the Foreign Secretary, Margaret Beckett, said that Britain would be in a position to hand over security in Basra to the Iraqis "at some point this spring". It is clear that this decision has now been put off until the autumn at the earliest.
American disquiet has been evident for some time. Apart from political concern in Washington at the perceived loss of support from its principal ally in Iraq, it emerged last month that US commanders were pressing Britain to keep open Shaibah logistics base, in the desert south of Basra. Until this year Shaibah was the largest British base in Iraq, but its closure was considered imminent as personnel and resources were switched to Basra air station, now the main centre of operations. The Americans, however, fear that the strategic supply route from Kuwait could become vulnerable.
Mr Blair is expected to announce this week that any handover of Basra air station, on the outskirts of the city, and Basra Palace - built for Saddam Hussein on the banks of the Shatt al-Arab, and housing UN, American and British consular staff - to Iraqi control will also be delayed.
The news will be a blow to military chiefs, whose impatience to wind down the mission became public last October. The head of the Army, General Richard Dannatt, said the presence of British forces in Iraq was exacerbating the security situation, and they should "get out some time soon".
Meanwhile Lord Goldsmith, the Attorney General, faces pressure to explain why an army colonel was charged with war crimes, after Colonel Jorge Mendonca was cleared last week of abusing Iraqi civilian prisoners. Col Mendonca walked free after a judge ruled that he and three of his men had no case to answer.
Lindsay Hoyle, the Labour MP whose Chorley constituency includes much of the regiment's recruiting area, said that Lord Goldsmith was "determined to go ahead" with the court martial, despite widespread doubts that it would lead to a conviction.
A spokesman for the Attorney General said that the decision to prosecute Col Mendonca and his co-defendants was made by the army prosecution authority. "There is no question of the prosecution having been politically motivated or influenced by political pressure," he added.
He knows his days are numbered in very small handwriting and he can see how much cooler the American speaking circuit is to him since the Bush administration started to go pear-shaped. He's desperate to get some "success" to hang his memoirs on for when he winds up out in the cold, cold winds of private life. Got a mortgage to pay, and all.
by Rudyard Kipling (1917)
They shall not return to us, the resolute, the young,
The eager and whole-hearted whom we gave:
But the men who left them thriftily to die in their own dung,
Shall they come with years and honour to the grave?
They shall not return to us, the strong men coldly slain
In sight of help denied from day to day:
But the men who edged their agonies and chid them in their pain,
Are they too strong and wise to put away?
Our dead shall not return to us while Day and Night divide â
Never while the bars of sunset hold.
But the idle-minded overlings who quibbled while they died,
Shall they thrust for high employments as of old?
Shall we only threaten and be angry for an hour?
When the storm is ended shall we find
How softly but how swiftly they have sidled back to power
By the favour and contrivance of their kind?
Even while they soothe us, while they promise large amends,
Even while they make a show of fear,
Do they call upon their debtors, and take counsel with their friends,
To confirm and re-establish each career?
Their lives cannot repay us â their death could not undo â
The shame that they have laid upon our race.
But the slothfulness that wasted and the arrogance that slew,
Shall we leave it unabated in its place?
By Gum, that Kipling bloke, eh? Knew a thing or two...
For months, army commanders have suggested that their presence on the streets of Basra was doing more harm than good, that it was time to lower expectations and let Iraqi forces take charge of security. They were forced to agree to a more gradual reduction partly in deference to US sensitivities.