British armed forces are held hostage in Iraq by US

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by armchair_jihad, Sep 29, 2006.

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  1. yes without delay Afghanistan can be won

  2. no we can do both

  3. Iraq is more important move troops there

  4. pull out of both

  5. Iraq is doomed bail out

  1. Senior military officers have been pressing the government to withdraw British troops from Iraq and concentrate on what they now regard as a more worthwhile and winnable battleground in Afghanistan

    "What is more important, Afghanistan or Iraq?" a senior defence source asked yesterday. "There is a group within the Ministry of Defence pushing hard to get troops out of Iraq to get more into Afghanistan."

    Political arguments, including strong US pressure against British troop withdrawals, have won, at least for the moment. US generals in Iraq privately made it clear they were deeply unhappy about British talk of troop reductions and complained that the British seemed interested only in the south of the country*.

    The debate within the MoD is unusual: arguments about the size and shape of the defence budget are common, but arguments about the merits of military deployments overseas are much rarer.

    The fierce debate at the highest military and political levels in the MoD is reflected in a passage of a leaked memo written by a staff officer at the Defence Academy, an MoD thinktank. It reads: "British armed forces are effectively held hostage in Iraq - following the failure of the deal being attempted by COS [chief of staff] to extricate UK armed forces from Iraq on the basis of 'doing Afghanistan' - and we are now fighting (and arguably losing or potentially losing) on two fronts."

    Article in full,,1883786,00.html

    * or prehaps they are not interested at all being sensible chaps.
  2. Uh,what else is new? :?
  3. Surely, the issue here is actuallly one of UK Governmental and military conceit? Having been told all through my career that 'hope is not a plan,' we moved into Afgh in strength on the 'hope' that TELIC would reduce. This has proved a false hope and we are now hoist on our own petard.

    The case for a strong, democratic Iraq (even if a pipe dream) is a strong one - balance to Iran, access to OIL and an opportunity to improve relations with the Arab world. As for held hostage there by US - in the macro game, we should be alongside them if we want to reap the benefits of success - if delivered.

    The case for going to Afgh is what? Beating a fixed, local enemy thousands of miles away? Eradicating the opium economy (the only economy theyhave in many places) is a worthy aim, but what STRATEGIC benefit does that have for UK? Evidence from the UN suggests that restricting supply increases the price to users. This makes the business MORE attractive and increases the amount of crime users must commit to buy heroin.

    The case for Afgh is not convincing, is the STRATEGIC intent energy security - gas from Stans, through Afgh to Pak and out? Would weaken Russian hold over Europe with interrupting natural gas supplies and aid European economies.
  4. cpunk

    cpunk LE Moderator

    Quite right. It seems to me that successive governments, Tory and Labour, have attempted to spend their 'peace dividends' before they've actually received them. This was certainly the case with the end of the Cold War, and also the case with the wind downs in NI and the Balkans. The upshot is that we have actually ended up with two high intensity operations at the end of long, long supply chains and a slack handful of potentially major threats to world security in the form of Islamism, Iran and North Korea. Brilliant.
  5. Mr Happy

    Mr Happy LE Moderator

    Hope is not a plan? Excellent, I can't wait to use that in the office. Now regarding Operation Corporate - could we describe that as a 'wing and a prayer', because it was hardly a hope….

    Lots of positives for winning the peace in Iraq. If its possible without giving Tehran and Damascus a kicking first...

    Personally, for me, Afghanistan hasn't mission creeped from its original plan, take out Osama and any other mad arabs we can lay our hands on. Closure for 9/11 and protection from such large civilian massacres depends on 'owning' Afghanistan, at least until we can stick some tyrant in there with an iron fist and lots of dark rooms with hooks on the walls to keep order. The UK government calling it some kind of 'rebuilding' exercise is really a joke, they should call it what it is, an AQ hunt.

    I don't think the UK thinks that globally these days, but I'd be chuffed if we did. The only person I've seen that can do that in the UK is Dicky Branson.
  6. i dont think Afghanistan will be an easy fight, as history has shown

  7. Mr Happy

    Mr Happy LE Moderator

    Ah, a reasonable opinion, until you remember this:

    The British Army, navy and airforce are not used to losing battles, as history has shown.

    Neither for that matter, is the USAF.
  8. True enough, most of the battles of the first two Afghan wars were won by the British, but the wars were lost on the basis that it proved impossible to hold the terrain so far from the sea - which was the source of imperial power.
    Consider the lack of resource from the Treasury as a modern parallel to the lack of projective power so far from the sea in the nineteenth century, and it might well be that focusing on a purely military solution will allow us to win the battles but eventually lose the campaign.

  9. Unless my history is a little shaky haven't the Afghans kicked our asses on three seperate occassions?
  10. Mr Happy

    Mr Happy LE Moderator

    Well I'm not sure about 3 but regardless I don't think what happened to an exped force in the 19th/20th century should overly worry us now. I know you are about to quote Russia's failure now too, so let me briefly set out my opinion.

    The answer for that, I believe is three fold (a) quality, incl training and experience, of troops. (b) accuracy of laser giuded munitions and indirect fires and other kit (PNVG's etc). (c) hearts and minds AND FF morale. All of this differs from the sovbloc force that went in 1980

    Now I haven't been there, so I don't know for sure, but I am pretty sure those three points accurately spell out the difference between winning and losing.

    I accept you might be looking for a 'war winning strat or weapon' like airpower and armour was in GW1 or GW2 but for the victory in Af you have to look back to 1982 and realise that better troops and better weapons (Harrier) and experience (NI) won the day vs Glatieri's conscripts.
  11. I don't think we will win Iraq, but I'm sure as hell we can win Afghanistan if we had more troops. Iraq will sort it self out over time, eventually when the Arabs finally decide to stop killing each other for no apparant reason then it can be peaceful. Iraq has oil so? There are easier sources of oil around. 'Stan has gas and 90% of the heroin we win that front you win several battles. A reliable gas supply without Russian bullying in Europe, cut crime and drug abuse back here in Britain.
  12. The US Leaders, Government and Military are Highly talented specialist in creating a "Vietnam" syndrome in almost all of the modern day conflicts that they have created, become involved in and with. Totally different to the British way of doing and achieving things, hence the successes of the British Track-Record, compared to the american way. However due to the unfortunate choice of The Leadership across the board with the British Government and Armed Forces. Our own track record is now becoming tainted and its respect and integrity questioned and doubted due in the main to the influence and and inferrences based on the credibility and weaknesses of the British Leaders, who are rapidly destroying all that has been established and built up over centuries and generations. Our National Pride, integrity, self-respect, credibility, soul, spirit and national unity feeling is being trashed by these leaders of ours. Some of whom are guilty of treason, but by the Damage control and limitation of good "Spin" seem to evade the issues. We are being forcibly by our own leaders reduced to a lower level and standard by the inadequecies of others. The ruination of our greatness by ones who do not care generally, only for themselves and their "own" kind and families.
  13. Agreed plus we (the International community) promised Afghanistan that we would rebuild their Society. They are still waiting. A debt of honor if you like.
  14. Attempting to spend the peace dividend before the "policy is up" is always a disaster - look at disarmament in the nineteen twenties, the period between the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars...A classic example currently is cashing in the BMHs. Saved pennies, costing millions in publicity, popularity and integrity!
  15. Stay in Iraq, feck Afghanistan off. Quite simply, each country's economy is founded on one single product. In Iraq's case, oil. In Afghanistan's case, heroin. You can base a stable society a lot more easily on oil than you can on heroin. In the long run, Iraq's a much better bet than Afghanistan, notwithstanding the current carnage.