Commons Defence Ctee Report:UK land operations in Iraq 2007


Some interesting observations on familiar themes and some less than cheerful comments;

"The relative security of Basra is said to owe more to the dominance of militias and criminal gangs, who are said to have achieved a fragile balance in the city, than to the success of the Multi-National and Iraqi Security Forces in tackling the root causes of the violence."

Iraqi Army seems to be getting there slowly but

"While we welcome the efforts reported to have been made by General Jalil to counter murderous, corrupt, and militia-infiltrated elements within the police in Basra, we remain concerned about the present state of the Iraqi Police. Progress with reforms has been painfully slow and serious questions appear to remain about the loyalty of a significant number of officers."

Report poses the big and still rather obvious question:

15. The MoD has said that, despite transferring security responsibility to the Iraqi Security Forces, UK Forces will retain the capability to re-intervene in South Eastern Iraq if the security situation deteriorates. If that re-intervention capability is to be credible the UK will need to be capable of drawing upon Forces from outside Iraq.

We call upon the MoD to clarify how it plans to maintain a re-intervention capacity, which Forces would be assigned to that role, and where they would be based.

16. The Prime Minister’s announcement that the number of UK Forces in Iraq will be reduced to 2,500 from the Spring of 2008 is noted, but important questions remain about the sustainability of a force of this size. If there is still a role for UK Forces in Iraq, those Forces must be capable of doing more than just protecting themselves at Basra Air Station. If the reduction in numbers means they cannot do more than this, the entire UK presence in South Eastern Iraq will be open to question.