British Pullback in Iraq a dry run for U.S.

#1
As American troop levels are peaking in Baghdad, British force levels are heading in the opposite direction as the troops prepare to withdraw completely from the city center of Basra, 300 miles to the south.

As the British prepare for the withdrawal from the city center — and the wider transition of handing over Basra Province to Iraqi security forces during the coming months — Brig. James Bashall, commander of the First Mechanized Brigade, concedes that his men will almost certainly “get a lot of indirect fire as we go backward.”

It is no coincidence that he is reading up on Britain’s withdrawal from its former crown colony Aden (ah if only we were let off the leash in such a way :x ) in what is now Yemen, and lessons from other theaters, with the American experience in Vietnam as the “obvious parallel.”

Mustapha Wali, a 49-year-old teacher, was blunt. “If they withdraw, we will live in a jungle, like the early days,” he said. “The parties control the government, and the aim of officials is to fill their pockets with money, millions of dollars inside their pockets and nothing to the city.”

...critics accuse the British of simply allowing the Shiite militias free rein to carry out their intolerant Islamist agenda, which involved killing merchants who sell alcohol, driving out Christians and infiltrating state institutions and the security forces.

“The British are very patient — they didn’t know how to deal with the militias,” said a 50-year-old Assyrian Christian who would identify herself only as Mrs. Mansour. “Some people think it would be better if the Americans came instead of the British. They would be harder on the militias.”

The report by the International Crisis Group, a nonprofit organization that seeks to prevent or resolve deadly conflicts, concedes that a recent British-led crackdown was a “qualified success” in reducing criminality, political assassinations and sectarian killings, yet nevertheless concludes that Basra “is an example of what to avoid.”

It said the British had been driven into “increasingly secluded compounds,” a result, the report said, that was viewed by Basra’s residents and militia as an “ignominious defeat.”

Although American commanders are sure to watch the British pullout closely, there are distinct differences between the military situations in the north and south.

“Basra is a totally different environment from what the Americans are facing,” said a British official in Basra. “The problem here is gangsterism, not violent sectarianism. And a foreign military is not the right tool for closing down a mafia.”

“A Baghdad-style surge would be 100 percent counterproductive,” he added.

... Iraqi youth, when asked what the Iraqi police were doing about roadside bombs intended for British troops, said, “The police are the ones who are doing it.”....

“Some people are asking, ‘Are we any longer part of the solution, or part of the problem?’ ” said Capt. Toby Skinner, 26, of the Fourth Battalion, the Rifles Regiment, in Basra. “An Iraqi told me: ‘You stay here for three years you will be our friend. You stay for four years, you will be our enemy.’ ”

Riyadh, a 22-year-old Iraqi and Basra native who is an interpreter for the British, expressed little confidence that the Iraqi Army was ready to take over from his paymasters, and none at all in the Iraqi police.

“Right now the militias are busy concentrating on getting the British Army out of Iraq,” he said. “After that is done they will turn on the people and try to control them in a very difficult way.”

“They will kill people who don’t do what they want,” he added. “There will be no punishment by courts; they kill people on the streets.”

But he acknowledged that if British troops stayed they would be sucked into further deadly confrontations with militias using civilians as cover, leading to inevitable innocent casualties and more hostility.

“If they leave, the militias will eventually fall apart,” he said. “There will be no reason to join them because they will not be fighting the British Army.”

This is what the British hope, but cannot guarantee, will happen.
In full

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/29/world/middleeast/29basra.html?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin
 
#2
...critics accuse the British of simply allowing the Shiite militias free rein to carry out their intolerant Islamist agenda, which involved killing merchants who sell alcohol, driving out Christians and infiltrating state institutions and the security forces.

“The British are very patient — they didn’t know how to deal with the militias,” said a 50-year-old Assyrian Christian who would identify herself only as Mrs. Mansour. “Some people think it would be better if the Americans came instead of the British. They would be harder on the militias.”

>>

Aint that the truth. Brits have been acting the faggot in Iraq and thus were smoked.
 
#3
In other word , we're damned if we do and we're damned if we don't. That is still no reason for us to stay in a conflict into which we were taken on the basis of lies and the political aspirations of a megalomaniac.
 
#4
At Basra Palace, the rocket attacks at all hours of the day and night have led soldiers to christen it, with characteristic dark humor, “probably the worst palace in the world.”

Despite the rocket-shredded roof and garden labyrinth of head-high sandbags, morale remains high.
http://www.m-w.com/dictionary/morale

morale

3 : the level of individual psychological well-being based on such factors as a sense of purpose and confidence in the future.
Sense of purpose and confidence in the future? In Basrah? It is a wrong definition I suppose. So I propose this one.

Morale - mysterious matter that always remains high.
 
#5
Regarding future UK force levels in Iraq.

Here's the Armed Forces Minister's own words to the Commons Defence Select Committee last week..

Mr Ainsworth said:
The force is not self-sustaining and able to protect itself and do the other work that it has to do below about 5000, so we are approaching the levels where we cannot go further.
Treat its veracity lightly as it's spoken by a politician in office...
 
#6
so we could be approaching the end game in Iraq, shame really, If there were more support from the locals it might have been diffferent, but we are dealing Middle eastern mentality, Tribe is everything, they forget the other things that makes it possible for Civilisation to florish, Stabilty, Law and Order, Public Accountability, Integrity, Strong Government, these are instruments of the State and rises above Tribal divisions, if they do not support any of that, then the whole place will go down the pan quite quickly and they will need to find the solution between themselves after a quick bout of blood letting til they get tired of it.

we also need to hurry with the Biofuel technology so we won't be held to ransom by OPEC.
 
#7
KGB_resident said:
At Basra Palace, the rocket attacks at all hours of the day and night have led soldiers to christen it, with characteristic dark humor, “probably the worst palace in the world.”

Despite the rocket-shredded roof and garden labyrinth of head-high sandbags, morale remains high.
http://www.m-w.com/dictionary/morale

morale

3 : the level of individual psychological well-being based on such factors as a sense of purpose and confidence in the future.
Sense of purpose and confidence in the future? In Basrah? It is a wrong definition I suppose. So I propose this one.

Morale - mysterious matter that always remains high.
Sergey morale remains high, not because of the missions successes or failures but because they are British Soldiers.

And British Soldiers historically are immunized from being effected by pedantic displays of semantics.

:)
 
#8
The problem my septic colleagues used to have understanding was that Basra has always been a lawless city. Tribal deals, dodgy payments and general strife is the way business has always been conducted there. The UK and other coalition partners in the city has always gone after those attacking us. We have always stepped clear in detailed involvement in the gangs because we're then required to pick sides. Its not as simple as Government Vs Bad Guys because half the time the Government figures are the bad guys.
 
#9
The Bob Ainsworth quotes are key here. He told the defence select committee last week that the Iraqi military commander believed his force was “approaching the point” where it could take over responsibility for Basra. “There is hope among our people out there at every level that we are approaching the situation where that can be done," Ainsworth said. General Habib, the 10th Division commander, had told him it was “getting to the point where certainly he thinks that his forces are able to take over in Basra city in the near future.” Once the British army withdraws from Basra palace and the attacks are totally focussed on the airport, it will be easy to argue that without us the violence would largely recede to levels the Iraqis are better able to handle themselves.
 
#10
With regard to the British in Basra the following mantra can be applied; If your not part of the solution then you are part of the problem. The Iraqi's are going to have to sort it out amongst themselves. Self determination is the only way forward regardless, even if it goes to full out civil war or partition. People seem to forget that it was only a few hundred years ago that we and the US were in the same state. 60 years ago for Spain. The Iraqi's are just a bit behind the curve. Unfortunately AK47s and RPGs are more efficient at killing people than musket, pike and cannon.

We've lit the blue touch paper and we are not strong enough to blow the flame out. We are going to have to sit back and watch the bang and hope it's a fizzle and not a big one (that spreads to neighbouring countries and the rest of the region).
 
#11
armchair_jihad said:
KGB_resident said:
At Basra Palace, the rocket attacks at all hours of the day and night have led soldiers to christen it, with characteristic dark humor, “probably the worst palace in the world.”

Despite the rocket-shredded roof and garden labyrinth of head-high sandbags, morale remains high.
http://www.m-w.com/dictionary/morale

morale

3 : the level of individual psychological well-being based on such factors as a sense of purpose and confidence in the future.
Sense of purpose and confidence in the future? In Basrah? It is a wrong definition I suppose. So I propose this one.

Morale - mysterious matter that always remains high.
Sergey morale remains high, not because of the missions successes or failures but because they are British Soldiers.

And British Soldiers historically are immunized from being effected by pedantic displays of semantics.

:)
Armchair_jihad, of course I don't doubt that morale of British soldiers is high. But what this word 'morale' does mean from your point of view. And if it is constantly high then there is no need to mention it each time.
 
#12
Tribe,
Yes Tribe first, Tribe second, Tribe always and when all eles is gone the Tribe remains.
And Corruption.
Corruption is the Mid East, Far East way of life.
It's their version of democracy in the West. One of the board interlectuals will have to explain the Western Version of democracy, bit beyond poor old me.
And Yes of course we will do an Aden on the locals who have supported us and the US in our venture to bring our values to their way of life.
Blur is gone done a Ponsius Pilot and Georgei Boy will soon wash his hands and count his money, leaving behind an unwinnable war.
That's Unwinnable for the West, Sadam, remember him ? would soon have sorted it out. Mind you he knew his own back yard, just thought he could bluff the West one more time.
john
And Sergey moral in the Brit army is something you need to have served as amember of, to comment, whinge whine and moan but will still die for the regiment/country as required.
Belive Ivan is the same.
 
#13
jonwilly said:
Tribe,
Yes Tribe first, Tribe second, Tribe always and when all eles is gone the Tribe remains.
And Corruption.
Corruption is the Mid East, Far East way of life.
It's their version of democracy in the West. One of the board interlectuals will have to explain the Western Version of democracy, bit beyond poor old me.
Hi Jonwilly. Likely you mean inter lecturers. Corruption is something universal. Is 'titles for money' affair a typical example of corruption? Taking into account that the case has been closed without action it's rather not crime but British (and in more wide context Western) way of life.

Btw, if we would count in dollars levels of local (Iraqi) and American (only in Iraq) corruption then it would not be clear what side would win this 'copmetition'.

jonwilly said:
And Yes of course we will do an Aden on the locals who have supported us and the US in our venture to bring our values to their way of life.
Blur is gone done a Ponsius Pilot and Georgei Boy will soon wash his hands and count his money, leaving behind an unwinnable war.
That's Unwinnable for the West, Sadam, remember him ? would soon have sorted it out. Mind you he knew his own back yard, just thought he could bluff the West one more time.
john
And Sergey moral in the Brit army is something you need to have served as amember of, to comment, whinge whine and moan but will still die for the regiment/country as required.
Belive Ivan is the same.
I think that 'battle spitit' should be used instead of this unclear term 'morale'. 150 years ago two armies with extremely strong battle spirits met and each side understood that it would be better not to have such an enemy.
 
#14
Corruption is universal and that is hardly a pillar as a debating point.

There are historical antecedents i.e. Lord Clive and Warren Hastings (who was impeached) to indicate that it is not the prerogative of the East alone!

Once the British army withdraws from Basra palace and the attacks are totally focussed on the airport, it will be easy to argue that without us the violence would largely recede to levels the Iraqis are better able to handle themselves.
If I may suggest for consideration, if one knows the Oriental culture (though it has its subtle difference from place to place) one wonders if the militias will allow blood feuds to wane so easily once the British leave. It is almost of the same genre as the irrational and stupid thing like 'Honour Killing'.

Therefore, if one has to leave for good reasons, one should leave and not worry about what will happen thereafter. I reckon it is easier said than done since one still has a conscience and sense of fairplay. To that extent, it is said that the British forces have done better in this department than others.

The feeling that the Iraqis will be able to handle better the situation thereafter if the British leave are merely salves for the conscience. It is good that the British have a conscience while others are yet to display the same possibly because they are consumed in their worry about themselves alone!

Iraqis, in all probability, given the Islamic sectarian and historical rivalry will battle it on. And since it is common failing amongst them, each individual feels he is a Khalifa and will protect his turf!
 
#15
jonwilly said:
Tribe,
Yes Tribe first, Tribe second, Tribe always and when all eles is gone the Tribe remains.
And Corruption.
Corruption is the Mid East, Far East way of life.
It's their version of democracy in the West. One of the board interlectuals will have to explain the Western Version of democracy, bit beyond poor old me.
And Yes of course we will do an Aden on the locals who have supported us and the US in our venture to bring our values to their way of life.
Blur is gone done a Ponsius Pilot and Georgei Boy will soon wash his hands and count his money, leaving behind an unwinnable war.
That's Unwinnable for the West, Sadam, remember him ? would soon have sorted it out. Mind you he knew his own back yard, just thought he could bluff the West one more time.
john
And Sergey moral in the Brit army is something you need to have served as amember of, to comment, whinge whine and moan but will still die for the regiment/country as required.
Belive Ivan is the same.
re My Bold I knew about that, I considered it a shameful conduct, USA for their faults are taking in Iraqis who worked them and granting them asylum in USA, I considered that a moral thing to do, if we do another "ADEN" again, nobody in the Middle East or anywhere will work for us in the future, they will be saying "These bloody British, do not trust them, they leave you and you will die for working for them"

in spite of our lack of room in the UK , we have a moral duty to protect those that worked for us and take them in, at least they are intelligent and educated with skills, unlike dole scrouging Pikeys and bogus asylum seekers dross we usually get.
 

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