Troops to stay in Iraq

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by jonwilly, Sep 18, 2005.

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  1. From Sunday Telegraph
    Plan to cut number of UK troops in Iraq is scrapped
    By Sean Rayment, Defence Correspondent
    (Filed: 18/09/2005)

    Secret plans by the Government to reduce troop numbers in Iraq have been shelved - and there is now no official date for the withdrawal of British soldiers, The Sunday Telegraph has learnt.

    The decision comes as ministers prepare to announce an unexpected redeployment of up to 6,000 members of the 7th Armoured Brigade - the renowned Desert Rats - in the conflict zone next month. This follows growing concerns that Iraq is heading into full-scale civil war.


    The 7th Armoured Brigade will return to Iraq next month
    Under the original withdrawal plans of John Reid, the Defence Secretary, up to 8,500 troops should have returned to Britain by next month with the rest coming home by the middle of next year.

    But the confirmation of a new large-scale troop redeployment, and the news that there is no end-date for British withdrawal, have sparked fears among serving soldiers and senior military figures that Iraq may be developing into Britain's own "Vietnam".

    Last night, senior officers accused the Government of having a "head-in-the-sand mentality" over Britain's defence requirements and its involvement in Iraq, where more than 200 civilians were killed in terrorists attack last week alone. They said the Army - which is also sending 3,000 extra troops to Afghanistan next April - was under-manned, "strapped for cash" and being "dangerously overstretched".

    So far, operations in Iraq are estimated to have cost Britain £5 billion and, since the American-led invasion in 2003, 95 British troops have been killed there.

    The redeployment of the Desert Rats, who fought in the 2003 battle for Basra, in southern Iraq, contradicts a plan drawn up two months ago by Mr Reid, Options for UK Force Posture in Iraq, which proposed the start of a troop pull-out next month.

    The government document added that the planned reductions would save £500 million a year.

    Last night, Admiral Sir Michael Boyce, the head of the armed services from 2001 to 2003, said he was concerned that Britain's Forces were being constantly asked to do more with less.

    "If we want to remain a global force for good around the world, it seems strange that the Armed Forces are not being properly funded … the MoD is strapped for cash" he said.

    One serving brigadier, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the danger of Britain becoming bogged down in its own "Vietnam war" was getting stronger every day. "The return of the 7th Armoured Brigade to Iraq is a significant benchmark," he said.

    "There is a real head-in-the-sand mentality as to how we're going to extricate ourselves from this mess. There is no endgame to the problems in Iraq."

    Andrew Robathan, a Tory defence spokesman who served in the SAS for five years, said: "The Army is overstretched and under-manned. Iraq is a mess … and thousands of soldiers will be sent to Afghanistan next year. And the MoD is still bent on cutting four infantry battalions."

    A Ministry of Defence spokesman confirmed that the 7th Armoured Brigade would return to Iraq next month. He added: "There are no plans now or in the future to withdraw troops from Iraq. It is all dependent on the security situation."

    john
     
  2. Journos - don't ya just luv 'em? Absolutely no mention that 7 Bde will be replacing 12 Bde - in fact, the article reads as if they will be reinforcing them, leading to an increase of 6,000 troops. Calling them 'The Renowned Desert Rats' also subtly gives the impression that Britain is having to fall back on these elite forces, rather than simply that it is a normal ready brigade's turn back in the sand pit.

    Sometimes I think these people do it deliberately...
     
  3. Infeckingcredible. I don't suppose old Boycie felt like passing this judgement when he was CDS - i.e. when he could actually do something about it? Our 'serving brigadier' is clearly not going to queer his pitch either.
     
  4. napier

    napier LE Moderator Reviewer

    Actually, the admirable Admiral did say publicly that we were overstretched while still in post, hence he didn't complete his tour. IMO he's the only recent CDS with any spine.
     
  5. British troops will stay in Iraq until the oil runs out - I mean until it is safe for the freedom loving people of Iraq!
    join the British Army: be underpaid, overstretched and over there.
     
  6. wedge is right, normal turn around, no body mentions all the other regts who have done two tours over here, QRL telic 1and 4, LD 2 and 6, we are over stretched, but vietnam, i dont think so, a bit melodramatic.
     
  7. If it wasn't made a bit melodramatic, it wouldn't be of any interest to the press. What's the point of a story where they say that the British Army is now bogged down in a supporting role that it can't withdraw from? Vietnam sounds much better and looks much better in print, don't you think?
     
  8. As I understand it, Boyce was encouraged to clear his desk because of pressure from the 'chief war sceptic'. It's alleged that at a planning conference in early/mid 2002, he questioned Rumsfeld about the wisdom of opening a 'second front' in Iraq. He was 'put down' by Rumsfeld who said with increduality that Afghanistan will be all over and done with long before they got to Iraq. Later in same (or maybe later meeting) he enquired casually about the 'after invasion plans' for Iraq. Nuff said!

    Check your grammar and word order. Should read: British troops will stay in Iraq until it is safe for the freedom loving people of Iraq to have their country back - when the oil runs out! Then they can slaughter each other as much as the like! :)

    Re 7 Armd Bde deployment: Yep it's the perfectly 'normal' rotation of units. But let's not forget 2 points. First. when 19 Mech began Telic 2, it was assumed just the 1 brigade could do the job - with a gradual decrease in troop strength as time went by. Alas, troop numbers have gradually crept up and hovver around 2 brigade strength. The 7 Armd Bde that will deploy on Telic 7, but will have an additional 2-3 inf btns accompanying it - not what the MoD planned or wants. Second, it's been a badly kept secret, that by the end of this year troop numbers were supposed to be down to about 3,000 total in Iraq - as the 'new' Iraqi came on-line and the violence subsided. It was thus assumed with crossed fingers that 7 Armd would not have to deploy as such - just those additional units on a stand-alone basis. Of course, next up is 19 Light Brigade. Now you know why the KINGS have not been reroled as planned!
     
  9. i take it that No 10 is thinking that Iraq is heading for a 'civil' and therefore we'd better get more troops in before it all kicks off? or am i a little off?

    I was also under the impression that we'd all be out iraq come early 07.... Are we actually putting more troops on the ground, or are the papers merely blowing a normal change over out of proportion? Out of interest.... What is the Yank troops on the ground number and are they increasing??
     
  10. yes it does plant pilot, just that joe public will read it and swallow every word.
     
  11. Goatman

    Goatman LE Book Reviewer

    balls....one of the reasons Michael Boyce (my erstwhile boss) was eased out of the position of CDS slightly earlier than usual was because
    A) he kept telling That Cnut Hoon there was no money left and why demanding TCH stand up to the Treasury more
    B) he undiplomatically kept wiping the squash-court floor with the greasy TCH, who fancied himself a player.

    Good bloke, who had the disconcerting habit of mastering the detail in his brief and damn near inducing nervous breakdowns in the staff who had to run to keep up.....

    Le Chevre( quondam scribe in HQ 2SL/CNH)
     
  12. i remember reading in the last few months that 3 cdo bde RM were to spearhead a '5,000 man' operation in afghanistan and that the iraq withdrawl process was involved in releasing troops for that, now the papers are full of 16 AA bde going to afghanistan instead.

    so is 3 cdo bde still going to afghanistan, or has that been binned?
     
  13. No, 16AAB and ARRCHQ are off to Afghanistan next spring. I recall when the Afghan op. was first being mooted they were talking about 16AAB, then 3Cdo, now 16AAB again - obviously depends whose turn it is! I get the impression they really didn't want to do both and have been clinging to the idea that there was going to be a roughly brigade-shaped withdrawal from Iraq in "a few months' time" for quite a lot of "a few months". It's blindingly obvious that there isn't going to be any drawdown from Iraq in the foreseeable future, and it was just as obvious a couple of months ago when TCR (can we start that one now, please?) was last spinning that we'd be out in three months. It's like the Swiss mountain guide who got lost, kept telling his party it was "Just another two hours" to the hut, and was finally picked up by SAR, hypothermic, hungry and unpopular in the extreme, after 36 hours up there.
     
  14. Monsieur le Chevre

    Delighted as I am that you found MICHAEL such a top bloke, my point stands. If he had really wanted to do something effective, he could have got hold of some chums in one of the more salacious red tops, announced he was off - and his reasons for doing so. Not, as you so eruditely put, have himself eased out by incompetent ocean going strokers who clearly weren't up to it. Less well informed (or connected) storemen such as myself wouldn't have got hold of the wrong end of the stick then!

    SN
     
  15. Come on guys! was there really anyone seriously naive enough to believe that the jackie the Iraqi would be up to running the south by the end of the year, without the British Army present?, in a word haaaaaaaa!! as anyone who has worked with the Iraqi 'security' forces will know.

    Despite the strain on marriages, resources, life in general etc, deep down it's what we all joined for and the best days of my life have been in that shithole he!he! Am I a belter or what?