Sunnis and Shias appeal for British to stay on

#1
Iraqi leaders yesterday condemned Britain's decision to withdraw troops saying it would lead to a bloodbath and ethnic cleansing.

After The Daily Telegraph revealed that troop numbers would be reduced by almost 3,000 to 4,500 at the end of May and withdrawn to a single base outside Basra, local party chiefs were shocked to discover that they were about to be abandoned.

They asked that Tony Blair keep British troops in the towns to prevent the slaughter and forced expulsion of thousands of Sunnis, the minority in the Shia dominated south.

The Prime Minister has always promised that Britain would never leave Iraq "until the job is done".


The town of Az Zubayr is unique in Iraq in that its 60,000 Sunni residents live in harmony with the 460,000 Shias. People from the two Islamic branches live next door to each other, a state of affairs unthinkable in Baghdad. "The decision to withdraw is wrong and the British have the responsibility to protect us," said Sheik Abdul Kareem Al Dusari. "The situation in Az Zubayr is good now because the rogue militias are asleep but if the British leave they will awaken."
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The leader of the Sunni-dominated Iraqi Islamic Party said Shia militias planned to plant car bombs in Shia areas and blame the killings on Sunnis.

That would create an excuse to attack them and effectively lead to Basra province being ethnically cleansed, he said.

Already the Sunni population in the province has dropped from 500,000 to 200,000 since the invasion of 2003 with many fleeing Iraq or joining their fellow believers in central Iraq.

Sheik Kareem believed that the militia were entirely backed by Iran which wanted to dominate the area.

"I request the British people and commanders to keep British forces working in Az Zubayr until the Iraqi security forces have the authority to run affairs," he said. "If I inform the Sunni people of Az Zubayr that the British are leaving they will leave too."

He said that once the militias became aware the British were leaving they would prepare to move into Az Zubayr to overrun the police.

The sheik's pleas were even echoed by the rival Shia-backed Tharallah party. Salan Maki Mohana, the party leader in Az Zubayr, said it would be "very dangerous" for the British to leave.

"Lots of people will take advantage of the bad security," he said.

The Army had brought some major beneficial projects to the town including its hospital, schools, water and electricity, he said.
Are the iraqis developing a dependency on foreign troops, and do we need to ween them off slowly, or force them to take charge with a dose of cold turkey?

telegraph
 
#2
Good question. We can't go on policing Iraq and keeping the two sides from throttling each other - remember PIRA? That was only calmed down after 9/11 and that was by the republicans in the US who's just got a dose.

IMHO, I think it would be preferable for the two sides to go their seperate ways, with the sunnis buggering off up north.

With the best will in the world, there is going to be trouble without foreign troops. The leaders of the two groups have said themselves that the antagonists are itching to start the ball rolling.
 
#3
Iraqi leaders yesterday condemned Britain's decision to withdraw troops saying it would lead to a bloodbath and ethnic cleansing.
When I was in Basra, we put a lot of effort into keeping the Shias away from the Sunnis. Even then, most of the Sunni mosques were closed because of the threat of attack. The Iraqi police force is corrupt.

Basically, we can't pull out without this happening.
 
#4
RFUK said:
Iraqi leaders yesterday condemned Britain's decision to withdraw troops saying it would lead to a bloodbath and ethnic cleansing.
When I was in Basra, we put a lot of effort into keeping the Shias away from the Sunnis. Even then, most of the Sunni mosques were closed because of the threat of attack. The Iraqi police force is corrupt.

Basically, we can't pull out without this happening.
Perhaps if they stopped throwing shrapnel our way at BAS/Shiba and the palace, oh, and didnt rig IEDs we perhaps would feel more welcome. In my opinion, they have****ed it for themselves. I say pull out and let the flip flops reap what they sow. :evil:
 
#5
mbga9pgf said:
RFUK said:
Iraqi leaders yesterday condemned Britain's decision to withdraw troops saying it would lead to a bloodbath and ethnic cleansing.
When I was in Basra, we put a lot of effort into keeping the Shias away from the Sunnis. Even then, most of the Sunni mosques were closed because of the threat of attack. The Iraqi police force is corrupt.

Basically, we can't pull out without this happening.
Perhaps if they stopped throwing shrapnel our way at BAS/Shiba and the palace, oh, and didnt rig IEDs we perhaps would feel more welcome. In my opinion, they have****ed it for themselves. I say pull out and let the flip flops reap what they sow. :evil:
But where would that leave all the good 'flip flops'.
 
#6
I watched a report on Sky News with the locals stating that they wanted us out and that the local militia would look after them? Confused now.
 
#7
Bravo2nothing said:
I watched a report on Sky News with the locals stating that they wanted us out and that the local militia would look after them? Confused now.
It's not confusing once you understand that there is no such thing as an "Iraqi". There are a group of people from a large and confusing number of different tribes, religions, economic, political and ethnic groupings that live inside a line drawn on the map by foreigners who were forced to think of themselves as "Iraqis" by a murderous and now deceased dictator. The inability of outsiders to appreciate the difference is at the root of many of our problems out there.

Some of course do have a primary loyalty to the Iraqi state - most do not. They pay lip service as they did under Saddam while they must, and will abandon any pretence when they do not have to. The Kurds are a good example, they mouth the words to keep the US around and keep their neighbours at bay whilst busy setting up Kurdistan in all but name.

Generally those who consider that they will be on the winning side once foreigners leave are keen for them to do so, those who feel they will lose want us to stay. Certainly the Iraqi PM wants us to stay, he is kept in power solely by our presence.
 
#8
One_of_the_strange said:
Bravo2nothing said:
I watched a report on Sky News with the locals stating that they wanted us out and that the local militia would look after them? Confused now.
It's not confusing once you understand that there is no such thing as an "Iraqi". There are a group of people from a large and confusing number of different tribes, religions, economic, political and ethnic groupings that live inside a line drawn on the map by foreigners who were forced to think of themselves as "Iraqis" by a murderous and now deceased dictator. The inability of outsiders to appreciate the difference is at the root of many of our problems out there.

Some of course do have a primary loyalty to the Iraqi state - most do not. They pay lip service as they did under Saddam while they must, and will abandon any pretence when they do not have to. The Kurds are a good example, they mouth the words to keep the US around and keep their neighbours at bay whilst busy setting up Kurdistan in all but name.

Generally those who consider that they will be on the winning side once foreigners leave are keen for them to do so, those who feel they will lose want us to stay. Certainly the Iraqi PM wants us to stay, he is kept in power solely by our presence.
I advert You to Gen Lambs article in which He states

In July, a poll by the nonprofit International Republican Institute found that 94% of Iraqis said they support a “unity” government. Nearly 80% opposed Iraq being segregated by religion or ethnicity, and even in Baghdad where sectarian violence is heightened, 76% opposed ethnic separation.

Similarly, according to a September WorldPublicOpinion.org poll, 97% of Iraqis said they “strongly disapprove” of attacks against Iraqi civilians, and 96% of Iraqis disapproved of attacks on Iraqi security forces.
These two polls bely Your statement
 
#9
I understand that Iraq as a country was drawn up by UK/French and as such, their understanding of their identity is different to ours, although it does raise a further question to understand what exactly the message is that Sky News are trying to communicate.
 
#10
One_of_the_strange said:
It's not confusing once you understand that there is no such thing as an "Iraqi". There are a group of people from a large and confusing number of different tribes, religions, economic, political and ethnic groupings that live inside a line drawn on the map by foreigners who were forced to think of themselves as "Iraqis" by a murderous and now deceased dictator. The inability of outsiders to appreciate the difference is at the root of many of our problems out there.

Some of course do have a primary loyalty to the Iraqi state - most do not. They pay lip service as they did under Saddam while they must, and will abandon any pretence when they do not have to. The Kurds are a good example, they mouth the words to keep the US around and keep their neighbours at bay whilst busy setting up Kurdistan in all but name.
Not true. The vast majority of Iraqis still want a single Iraq.

The Sunnis and Shias are not fighting so that can each have their own state. They are fighting for control of Iraq.

Apart from the Kurds, no-one wants to split up Iraq - not the Americans, not the Iranians, not the Syrians, not the Iraqis themselves.
 
#11
Yellow_Devil said:
One_of_the_strange said:
It's not confusing once you understand that there is no such thing as an "Iraqi". There are a group of people from a large and confusing number of different tribes, religions, economic, political and ethnic groupings that live inside a line drawn on the map by foreigners who were forced to think of themselves as "Iraqis" by a murderous and now deceased dictator. The inability of outsiders to appreciate the difference is at the root of many of our problems out there.

Some of course do have a primary loyalty to the Iraqi state - most do not. They pay lip service as they did under Saddam while they must, and will abandon any pretence when they do not have to. The Kurds are a good example, they mouth the words to keep the US around and keep their neighbours at bay whilst busy setting up Kurdistan in all but name.
Not true. The vast majority of Iraqis still want a single Iraq.

The Sunnis and Shias are not fighting so that can each have their own state. They are fighting for control of Iraq.

Apart from the Kurds, no-one wants to split up Iraq - not the Americans, not the Iranians, not the Syrians, not the Iraqis themselves.
The Sunnis and Shia are fighting each other for control of Iraq - a single state controlled by the winner. Why split it up when you can have it all ?

Remember - and this will be very familiar to anyone who was involved in FRY - what they mean when they say a unified Iraq (one ruled by their tribe atop a pile of bodies from the runners-up) is very different to what we mean (a multi-cultural state that respects personal freedoms and the rule of law).
 
#12
One_of_the_strange said:
Yellow_Devil said:
One_of_the_strange said:
It's not confusing once you understand that there is no such thing as an "Iraqi". There are a group of people from a large and confusing number of different tribes, religions, economic, political and ethnic groupings that live inside a line drawn on the map by foreigners who were forced to think of themselves as "Iraqis" by a murderous and now deceased dictator. The inability of outsiders to appreciate the difference is at the root of many of our problems out there.

Some of course do have a primary loyalty to the Iraqi state - most do not. They pay lip service as they did under Saddam while they must, and will abandon any pretence when they do not have to. The Kurds are a good example, they mouth the words to keep the US around and keep their neighbours at bay whilst busy setting up Kurdistan in all but name.
Not true. The vast majority of Iraqis still want a single Iraq.

The Sunnis and Shias are not fighting so that can each have their own state. They are fighting for control of Iraq.

Apart from the Kurds, no-one wants to split up Iraq - not the Americans, not the Iranians, not the Syrians, not the Iraqis themselves.
The Sunnis and Shia are fighting each other for control of Iraq - a single state controlled by the winner. Why split it up when you can have it all ?

Remember - and this will be very familiar to anyone who was involved in FRY - what they mean when they say a unified Iraq (one ruled by their tribe atop a pile of bodies from the runners-up) is very different to what we mean (a multi-cultural state that respects personal freedoms and the rule of law).
Once again I advert You to General lambs article and the poll that said that 94% of Iraqis want a government of unity - this isn't Shia unity or Sunni unity, but Iraqi unity
 
#13
Yellow_Devil said:
One_of_the_strange said:
It's not confusing once you understand that there is no such thing as an "Iraqi". There are a group of people from a large and confusing number of different tribes, religions, economic, political and ethnic groupings that live inside a line drawn on the map by foreigners who were forced to think of themselves as "Iraqis" by a murderous and now deceased dictator. The inability of outsiders to appreciate the difference is at the root of many of our problems out there.

Some of course do have a primary loyalty to the Iraqi state - most do not. They pay lip service as they did under Saddam while they must, and will abandon any pretence when they do not have to. The Kurds are a good example, they mouth the words to keep the US around and keep their neighbours at bay whilst busy setting up Kurdistan in all but name.
Not true. The vast majority of Iraqis still want a single Iraq.

The Sunnis and Shias are not fighting so that can each have their own state. They are fighting for control of Iraq.

Apart from the Kurds, no-one wants to split up Iraq - not the Americans, not the Iranians, not the Syrians, not the Iraqis themselves.
Agree much of this 'fitna' business and Shi'ite threat business is coming from the elite Iraqi and external actors. I would say that the majority of Iraqis, still retain a belief in the unity of Iraq and their Iraqi nationalism.
 
#14
Maybe the 94% should get their act together and do something about the 6% that want to cause trouble in order to acheive their aims.

I can't understand the thinking. If the violence stops the allied forces can pullout sooner. Then the different groups can go about splitting up the power with out interferance.

I understand that Iran and Syria don't want 150,000 Yanks in Iraq with nothing to do as W might get ideas about turning the East or West, but surly the majority of Iraqies want to be in a place were they don't need them.
 
#15
bobath said:
Maybe the 94% should get their act together and do something about the 6% that want to cause trouble in order to acheive their aims.

I can't understand the thinking. If the violence stops the allied forces can pullout sooner. Then the different groups can go about splitting up the power with out interferance.

I understand that Iran and Syria don't want 150,000 Yanks in Iraq with nothing to do as W might get ideas about turning the East or West, but surly the majority of Iraqies want to be in a place were they don't need them.
I must confess to thinking most polls poor indications of reality as it is far too easy to slant the answers by slanting the questions.

However, the main reason I think most of the locals aren't "Iraqis" in terms of primary loyalties is simply that the violence continues. If 94% of the populace genuinely wanted a single unified state with representation from all groupings they would have one by now. Every Iraqi just about has an AK-47 and the old army was 400,000 strong, it's not shortages of arms or training that stops them. It's because they don't want it.

Of course Iran and Syria are trying to keep the pot boiling by keeping US forces busy so they can't pop next door - but again they can only operate effectively with local support. Ditto AQ for that matter. And different areas of course, they hate each other with a vengeance.
 
#16
94% of Iraqis want a united Iraq . . . my hairy arrse.

100% of Shia's want a united Iraq, but without any Sunnis or Kurds in it. The Sunnis ALL want a united Iraq, with no Shias or Kurds in it.

The Kurds want a united Kurdistan with no Iraq, Iran or Turkey in it.

The US wants a pliable, but divided state with lots of oil in it that will be forever weakened by the fact that everyone is continously fighting each other.

The UK wants whatever the US wants because that way we stay buddies and might get the cast-offs.

The rest of the world says "'tut tut' Just make sure we don't lose our oil, or we'll all kick off wnakers!"
 

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