Discussions to be held after Iraqi raid.


British officials are to explain to the authorities in Basra why coalition troops demolished the headquarters of the city's Serious Crime Unit.

UK forces say Iraqis are still supporting them despite anger over the raid on a police station, and discussions will follow.

A British officer said the destruction of the base has made Basra safer.

Mohammed al Abadi, head of the city's council, had said the raid was illegal and threatened to stop co-operation.

He said local officials had not been informed of the operation and that it violated earlier agreements to move the prisoners without military action.

And Basra police commander Brigadier General Ali Ibrahim said: "This storming operation is illegal and violates human rights.

"We think that what the operation sought to achieve is very simple and could have been settled by Iraqi troops."

But the UK Foreign Office said there had been no formal announcement to withdraw co-operation with the British.

A spokesman conceded some elements of the council were unhappy but said the UK and the Iraqi government would explain the reasons for them.

'Iraqi backing'

Major Charles Burbridge, speaking on behalf of the British Army in Basra, said the 127 prisoners rescued from Jamiat police station had been tortured.

And the raid had the backing of regional and national Iraqi politicians.

He said: "Some members of the provincial council conducted a press conference yesterday where they criticised what we did and how we did it.

"But at the same time the MoD up in Baghdad had a similar press conference stating that the provincial council's facts were wrong.

"We still believe that we've done the right thing and I think it's important to acknowledge the fact that what we do here is never going to be overwhelmingly popular and if we don't get any criticism then this isn't democracy."

British forces raided and demolished the unit's headquarters, and rescued prisoners they feared would be killed.

SAS rescue

A Ministry of Defence spokesman said hundreds of seized files and computers were taken as evidence.

The raid came three days after seven Iraqi officers were arrested by UK troops on suspicion of corruption and leading a death squad at the unit.

In September 2005, two SAS soldiers were rescued from Jamiat after being accused of shooting dead a local policeman and wounding another.


Althought some people may not agree with what was carried out by the Lads,I believe that,in the long run,a lot of lives have been saved.I'm sure those prisoners who were tortured were'nt complaining!
I would say welldone to those that had the balls to ok this op.

Had it not gone ahead, quite a few people who the insurgents (sorry police) did not like, may well have had a bullet in the back of the head.

If anything, i think this will make the guys more popular with the man in the street, but may result in increased hatred (and action against) by the insurgents.
The Serious Crimes Unit was committing serious crimes, rather ironic. The raid saved over a hundred men who had been destined for execution and had been tortured. I think the raid sent a message to Sadr's gang of thugs in the Ministry of Interior.
Excellent work by the lads. Well done. What needs to be borne in mind is that the dominant group in Serious Crime Unit will all have come from the one tribe. That tribe remains. They will find other ways of facilitating their domination. If we took out the head - fine but we may only have amputated a leg. Still, I'm confident that the troops will find those other legs and deal with them. If allowed.
Don't normally care much for the spitting one but this pithy article sets out the monumental cock-up that is Iraq. Full article in today's Guardian.
Difficult to see us pulling out any time soon.

What has long been a catastrophic tragedy is also now a horrific farce
The British occupation army's assault on its own police force in Basra confirms Iraq as a far greater disaster than Suez

Roy Hattersley
Wednesday December 27, 2006
The Guardian

Iraq - which for years has been an unmitigated tragedy - has turned into Grand Guignol, and, true to the traditions of that genre, horror and farce combine in equal measure. No doubt we should rejoice that al-Jamiat police station in Basra has been destroyed and its prisoners taken to the relative security of a compound in which detainees are hopefully not routinely tortured. But if a sick satire on an obscure television channel included a sketch about British troops attacking a unit of the police that they established and with whom they had been theoretically working for nearly four years, the outcry would not have been limited to complaints about undermining the morale of our troops under fire. We would have been told that the whole idea was too fantastical to sustain the lampoon.

But that is what really happened on Monday, and although the sound of the exploding bar-mines should presumably be music to the ears of everyone who supports the rule of law, a number of important questions lie unanswered in the rubble of what was, until Christmas morning, the headquarters of the Basra serious crimes unit. A witty military press officer suggested that the name related to what the 400 associated police officers did rather than what they prevented. But he did not make clear how long the British authorities have known that, among their regular activities, they crushed prisoners' hands and feet, electrocuted them and burned them with cigarettes. You will recall that one of the reasons given to justify the invasion and occupation of Iraq was the obligation to save the people from that sort of atrocity. It now appears that, at least in al-Jamiat police station, the arrival of what is bravely described as democracy has not made much difference........

..........Nearly four years after US-led forces invaded and President Bush declared victory, the British headquarters in Basra could still not be sure where the police's loyalty lay. And General Ali Ibrahim, an Iraq army commander in the area, denounced the decision to clear out the serious crimes unit as illegal. Do we still believe that an orderly transition of power to a genuinely democratic Iraq is possible within the foreseeable future? The gloomy answer to that question is why, although the demolition of al-Jamiat police station is, in itself, a matter of rejoicing, the news also increases the general despair we should all feel about the catastrophe of Iraq. Thanks to George Bush and Tony Blair we are actors in a tragedy that seems to have no foreseeable conclusion. To pull out is to leave the people to the mercies of a hundred other serious crimes units. To remain is to intensify the hatred and bitterness of much of the law-abiding population. The worst diplomatic blunder since Suez? By comparison, Suez had a happy ending.



If only British and US Govts had behaved like invaders and colonialists instead of pretending to be a meals-on-wheels delivery................we could have had our own Iraqi Army with our own favourite generals and a new Secret Police - instead we subcontracted it all to the Iranians.

Why does the West try to deny its own capabilities ? As colonialists we could have run Iraq without the disneyfied notion of Iraqis turning out to be like a PTA in Guildford


The Brig General seems to forget the Human Rights of the people who had been tortured and who were about to be put to death.

When I was on a CPA base outside Fulluja, there was an incident were one of contractors was taken into custody, because there was no detention facilites on the CPA base they had to be taken to a neighburing American base, however Iraqi soldiers were banned from gurding the prisoner by the base commander as they would often beat their prisoners.


"This storming operation is illegal and violates human rights.

Ah yes, the ol' human rights. Blair has been advising the Iraqis! I'd like to see which human rights were violated here; or if some were violated, which were violated without justification. It's ridiculous that they are talking about human rights, and yet they've got open sewers running through their streets and no running water.

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