UK pulls out of joint headquarters in Iraqs Basra

#1
Shiite militiamen from the Mahdi Army took over the police joint command center in Basra on Sunday after British soldiers withdrew from the facility and handed control to the Iraqi police, witnesses said.
http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2007/08/26/africa/ME-GEN-Iraq-Basra.php

what´s the point of training the Iraqis to do a job if all they do is clear off
 
#2
Get ready for abuse. Apparently, the Brits lost the war for everyone.

When British troops begin the final pull back from Basra city over the next month, it will mean more than just a "reposturing", as the current military lingo has it, for the UK military presence in Iraq. It is now showing the first real indication of a parting of the ways between Westminster and Washington over Iraq since Tony Blair secretly signed up British troops to the Bush invasion plan at Crawford in April 2002.

The blame game has already begun. At the weekend the hawkish Pentagon adviser Stephen Biddle said the British had cut and run from Basra and that US forces are likely to have to go down there to "sort the mess out", by defeating the Mahdi army of Moqtada al-Sadr. This, superficially at least, suggests profound ignorance about the capabilities of US forces in Iraq, and of the true situation on the
ground in and around Basra.

http://commentisfree.guardian.co.uk/robert_fox/2007/08/the_blame_game_begins.html.printer.friendly
 
#3
i'll go with this reply.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/main.jhtml?xml=/opinion/2007/08/26/do2604.xml


is this all the thanks we get, Mr President?

By Iain Martin
Last Updated: 12:01am BST 26/08/2007


There are only 512 days until George Bush leaves the White House and his departure cannot come quickly enough. The last months of a presidency are often a tragic affair but not usually on this scale.

Bush's failure is now widely acknowledged, if too often misunderstood. And still it is hard for some on this side of the Atlantic to admit how damaging the consequences of his period in office have been.

It should be especially shaming for those of us in that dwindling band prepared to admit that we were enthusiastic supporters of the Iraq war (I plead guilty), and even worse for those of us persuaded as far back as the tail end of the last century that this man had the attributes and inclinations which would make him a successful president (guilty again).


However, that realisation in the comfort of an office in London is pathetically small beer when placed alongside the avoidable terrors unleashed in Iraq.

They occurred principally because the forces driving the administration abandoned reason by failing completely to prepare for the aftermath; because the President was too weak a figure to balance the radicals in his team with powerful voices of caution, as Ronald Reagan did; and because those of us who supported the war, especially Tony Blair, failed to ask the right questions.

In light of that the sustained attacks on our brave forces by senior advisers to a failed President are even more offensive; his arrogance and incompetence is compounded by rudeness.

What began with comments by General Keane, in a candid interview with The Sunday Telegraph last weekend, picked up pace throughout the week and has been given a new intensity today by the intervention of Frederick Kagan.

An architect of the US surge in Iraq, he has some fairly choice things to say about the "Brits" in southern Iraq: our troops have done too little to stabilise Basra, their withdrawal will cause resentment on the part of US troops, and as a nation we misunderstand al-Qaeda's threat.

It is the failure by Americans to appreciate the sacrifice made by Britain, in terms of lives, material and political capital, which boils the blood. We have lost 168 in Iraq and 73 in Afghanistan, and at home a Prime Minister tarnished his office by trusting too much in the wisdom and might of American power.

The sniping is licensed by the increasingly friendless White House, and may have begun as a mistaken attempt to persuade the British to stay. The switch to a "time-table" for withdrawal by early next summer was triggered by Ministry of Defence planners in June and Gordon Brown has done nothing to stop our forces sticking to it. If anything, he should accelerate it.

The case for Britain staying any longer in the south is gone. Our troops are boxed in. When they leave their bases they are attacked by militias which are often indivisible from the local forces of law and disorder.

The Americans will have to accept our departure, send troops to secure their supply routes through the south and be grateful Britain tolerated it for so long after the failure to find WMD.

Elsewhere, the Bush administration has need of our continued patience and tolerance. The three Britons killed in Afghanistan on Thursday were hit by an American bomb, a horrendous accident no doubt arising from some small but deadly human error in the heat of war.

However, the President is lucky we British have enough experience of the vagaries of war that we do not join the dots between bad manners in Iraq and the carelessness of US pilots over Helmand and arrive in anger at the wrong conclusion.

The Bush White House criticisms of Britain are prompted by the bitterness which flows from its increasing isolation.

The President now appears a haunted figure. Jean-David Lavitte, the former French Ambassador to Washington and now Nicolas Sarkozy's security adviser, put it well in advice to the new French President: "You will find him [Bush] strong and welcoming but behind the facade you will find a man in a state of distress."

Quite. Behind the facade of wisecracks that never quite work (his staff clearly laugh too much at his baffling "jokes") is a man who may be coming apart. To have gambled a Presidency on his gut instincts, the whole time invoking the spirits of Churchill, Roosevelt, Reagan and Thatcher, and then botched it is bad enough.

Now he rather insanely invokes Vietnam, as he did in a speech to US veterans last week, as proof he is right to stand against cutting and running from this contemporary quagmire.

Were America to withdraw, it would compound earlier errors by precipitating regional meltdown. But a new President is required before the fight against Islamic fundamentalist terrorism can be recalibrated.

Bush is too identified with failure to even attempt to write the next chapter in the story of a conflict that threatens to last generations.

We have been somewhere like this before. President Truman was faster than his apparently more sophisticated rivals to identify the global Communist threat after 1945, but was punished by the American public for his faltering military response.

America had to endure the setbacks of Vietnam, the collapse of the Johnson presidency and an existential crisis of confidence before it won the Cold War in the 1980s, with our not inconsiderable assistance.
 
#4
Sorry, how would you tell the difference between the Mahdi army and the Basrah police? Same uniforms or lack of, same weapons, same blokes. Slightly different CoC but that's hardly obvious to the jock on patrol.
 
#5
There is no difference - but be careful about the distinction. Many Shiites in Basra belong to Militias, not because they want to, but because they realise that its the only way of safeguarding their security in the longer term. Far better to be on the 'in crowds' team, and guranteed protection, than outside. There is a hardcore of fanatics, but most of the so-called 'militia members' are actually just people looking out for their own.
 
#6
I remember watching a TV interview with TCH shortly after the fall of Baghdad in 2003. With pictures in the background of looters lugging furniture out of ransacked former govt party buildings, and coalition troops watching on without response, his (TCH's) response went something like this:

"It's government property. They're only taking what's rightfully theirs."

For the last 4 years, Iraqis criminals have been holding TCH to his words. Why should they stop now?
 
#7
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/6964736.stm


jim30:

There is no difference - but be careful about the distinction. Many Shiites in Basra belong to Militias, not because they want to, but because they realise that its the only way of safeguarding their security in the longer term. Far better to be on the 'in crowds' team, and guranteed protection, than outside. There is a hardcore of fanatics, but most of the so-called 'militia members' are actually just people looking out for their own.
Interesting. On the same topic though, we keep hearing about 'bloody gang warfare on Basra's streets', but the reports of deaths in Basra do not match up. Is there just no one keeping track of civilian deaths or is the problem over-egged?
 
#8
singha61 said:
Shiite militiamen from the Mahdi Army took over the police joint command center in Basra on Sunday after British soldiers withdrew from the facility and handed control to the Iraqi police, witnesses said.
http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2007/08/26/africa/ME-GEN-Iraq-Basra.php

what´s the point of training the Iraqis to do a job if all they do is clear off
Surely the point of training the Iraqi police to take over from us when the time was right.Obviously the head sheds decided the time was right & ordered a hand over.
We cant be held accountable for what happens after we leave & handover a location to a body deemed suitable to take over.
And I do think it's bloody arrogant of that General Keane to criticise the British 'war' effort' considering it's the US that got us into the mess in the first place.
 
#10
parapauk said:
. . . we keep hearing about 'bloody gang warfare on Basra's streets', but the reports of deaths in Basra do not match up. Is there just no one keeping track of civilian deaths or is the problem over-egged?
No one - in the US/UK gunmints - is tracking the numbers.

www.iraqslogger.com (subscription only from 1 Sep - $60/month) has - to date - been very reliable and informative, with numbers from hospitals as well as press reports tath do not seem to surface in the West. Reuters alertnet coveres the same sort of info, but - oddly - seems to have less 'reach': but given the number of journos and photgraphers they have lost recently in Iraq, p'raps one shouldn't be surprised.

Iraq Body Count is prob'ly the best indicator - but ultimately, I wouldn't regard any source as "reliable", simply because no gunmint (Iraqi National Gunmint - ha-fecking-ha) let alone Western press, has the "reach" to find out what exactly is going on in all the odd corners of Iraq.

Over-egged? Hard to say: but if it is possible for mass executions to go unreported for months, until the stiffs wash up on the banks of the Tigris, or are unearthed months later by a routine US Army search (I've read reports of both in the last month or so), I'd be inclined to lean towards 'under-reported', rather than 'over-egged'.

It's a world worthy of Mad Max out there.
 
#11
Stonker said:
parapauk said:
. . . we keep hearing about 'bloody gang warfare on Basra's streets', but the reports of deaths in Basra do not match up. Is there just no one keeping track of civilian deaths or is the problem over-egged?
No one - in the US/UK gunmints - is tracking the numbers.

www.iraqslogger.com (subscription only from 1 Sep - $60/month) has - to date - been very reliable and informative, with numbers from hospitals as well as press reports tath do not seem to surface in the West. Reuters alertnet coveres the same sort of info, but - oddly - seems to have less 'reach': but given the number of journos and photgraphers they have lost recently in Iraq, p'raps one shouldn't be surprised.

Iraq Body Count is prob'ly the best indicator - but ultimately, I wouldn't regard any source as "reliable", simply because no gunmint (Iraqi National Gunmint - ha-fecking-ha) let alone Western press, has the "reach" to find out what exactly is going on in all the odd corners of Iraq.

Over-egged? Hard to say: but if it is possible for mass executions to go unreported for months, until the stiffs wash up on the banks of the Tigris, or are unearthed months later by a routine US Army search (I've read reports of both in the last month or so), I'd be inclined to lean towards 'under-reported', rather than 'over-egged'.

It's a world worthy of Mad Max out there.
My bold

Now wasn't I saying that oh so many pages ago. So tell me Stonks, why isn't the UN data safe? Something to do with the Shia running the hospitals?
 
#12
However, the President is lucky we British have enough experience of the vagaries of war that we do not join the dots between bad manners in Iraq and the carelessness of US pilots over Helmand and arrive in anger at the wrong conclusion.
Sorry, I need to say something about this one. We don't know what happened with the US PILOT in question, but US PILOTS provided CAS to Squaddies in Sangin when the RAF didn't
 
#13
parapauk said:
Is there just no one keeping track of civilian deaths or is the problem over-egged?
Ignoring that self - obsessed knobend Sven, I posted this in the last day or so, elsewhere on arrse. It is a part answewr to your question.

Simple answer: there is no single reliable source of any kind of information in a place that is tearing itself apart, and where the 'elected' representatives of other countries have a (political) life-or-death stake in the perceived progress of their interventions. That kmmeans that least of all can you trust the US administration (theme tune - "Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life"), or the gang behind The Hand Of Gord (theme tume "You Say It Best - When You Say Nothing At All").

Read this, read around this, have a think - and draw a conclusion. If your conclusion makes you feel optimistic - have a word with yourself - you are in need of help to deal with the real world.

Iraq Body Count Running at Double Pace

By STEVEN R. HURST
The Associated Press
Sunday, August 26, 2007; 2:23 AM

BAGHDAD -- This year's U.S. troop buildup has succeeded in bringing violence in Baghdad down from peak levels, but the death toll from sectarian attacks around the country is running nearly double the pace from a year ago.

Some of the recent bloodshed appears the result of militant fighters drifting into parts of northern Iraq, where they have fled after U.S.-led offensives. Baghdad, however, still accounts for slightly more than half of all war-related killings _ the same percentage as a year ago, according to figures compiled by The Associated Press.

The tallies and trends offer a sobering snapshot after an additional 30,000 U.S. troops began campaigns in February to regain control of the Baghdad area. It also highlights one of the major themes expected in next month's Iraq progress report to Congress: some military headway, but extremist factions are far from broken.

In street-level terms, it means life for average Iraqis appears to be even more perilous and unpredictable.

The AP tracking includes Iraqi civilians, government officials, police and security forces killed in attacks such as gunfights and bombings, which are frequently blamed on Sunni suicide strikes. It also includes execution-style killings _ largely the work of Shiite death squads.

The figures are considered a minimum based on AP reporting. The actual numbers are likely higher, as many killings go unreported or uncounted. Insurgent deaths are not a part of the Iraqi count.[hr]However, Brig. Gen. Richard Sherlock, deputy director for operational planning for the Pentagon's Joint Chiefs of Staff, said violence in Iraq "has continued to decline and is at the lowest level since June 2006."[hr]He offered no statistics to back his claim, but in a briefing with reporters at the Pentagon on Friday he warned insurgents might try intensify attacks in Iraq to coincide with three milestones: the sixth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks in the U.S., the beginning of Ramadan and the report to Congress.[hr]Nora Bensahel, a military analyst at the Rand Corp., said that northern Iraq had become increasingly destabilized over the past few months.

The insurgents have made a "concerted effort to concentrate attacks in other parts of the country," Bensahel said, in part to escape the increased U.S. troop presence in Baghdad and in part to give the impression that no place in Iraq is safe.

Mostly, she said, the insurgents have shifted their focus to the Baghdad suburbs, but they are particularly keen to undermine the notion that northern Iraq is a "success story" for Washington and its key Iraqi partners _ including the Kurds who have maintained a near-autonomous state in the north since the early 1990s.[hr]The No. 2 U.S. commander, Lt. Gen. Ray Odierno, has also expressed fears of a big insurgent attack in the final days before the report to Congress, but also claimed the offensives have shaken militant fighters in Baghdad and environs.

"Due to the constant pressure and depletion of their leadership, extremists have been pushed out of many population centers and are on the move, seeking other places to operate within the country," Odierno said last week.

"As a result, we are now in pursuit of al-Qaida and other extremist elements, and we'll continue to aggressively target their shrinking areas of influence," he said.

"Over the coming weeks, we plan to conduct quick-strike raids against remaining extremist sanctuaries and staging areas," Odierno said.

IN FULL: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/08/25/AR2007082500807.html
 
#14
I agree, Chief J. That was a silly and uncalled for remark on his part. It jumped out of the page when I read it. We don't know the circumstances, but I don't think anybody over here would even momentarily consider that ther might be any connection between the two events. No dots to join.
 
#15
Politicians and pundits spill hot air. Soldiers bleed.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/leading_article/article2337283.ece

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uklatest/story/0,,-6879400,00.html

Instructions to troops in Basra: keep fingers crossed
Agonising decisions in the build-up to withdrawal
Anthony Loyd

The clock is nearing midnight for the withdrawal of the beleaguered British troops from their base in the palace in Basra. The date at which the 650 soldiers will retire from their position to join their 5,000 comrades at the airport outside the city is imminent. In the two months since they arrived in Iraq this battle group has been under virtual siege, its palace quarters subject to the highest rate of incoming mortar and rocket fire anywhere in Iraq. Little surprise, then, that they have already suffered the worst casualty rate of any British unit serving in Iraq, including that of forces involved in the 2003 invasion.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/guest_contributors/article2337306.ece
 
#16
The very last thing that should be done is to publish the date of withdrawal. Would just lead to a surge in attacks and bloodletting as rival factions jockey for control. British lives would be lost.
 
#17
#18
Mr_Jones said:
from

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/leading_article/article2337283.ece

Tellingly, his [Gen D's] concern was “the need to keep an army in being” along the line, “not just the memory of one that expended itself” in these two theatres.
At least General D has his priorities right. The US looks to me to be in danger of f*cking theirs up completely.

Now would be a really useful time for a troops out of Iraq demo.
Be more specific.

GEORGE DUBYA MOTHER-FECKIN BUSH IS INTENT ON BEING 'RIGHT' OVER EYE-RACK:

Even if it means destroying the US Military.

This is worse than Nero fiddling while Rome burns.

It is closer to Caligula.
 
#20
Mr_Jones said:
Well i still think Cheney is the organ-grinder, and I still think it's about bases to watch Iran, but apart from those details, yeah--i'd have to agree.
Can anyone confirm that the placement of these bases by the Americans tallies with the placement of that proposed Iraqi-Jordanian pipeline?
If that plan has gone tits up like the rest of the war-plan, then the usefulness of the bases must be in question also, no?
 

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