UK troops attacked in Basra

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by PartTimePongo, Aug 10, 2003.

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    British troops have come under attack by protesters in Basra rioting over fuel and electricity shortages.
    Trouble broke out in several different areas of the southern Iraqi city after an estimated 2,000 people took to the streets in the stifling summer heat.

    Angry crowds burnt at least one car and several tyres, and hurled rocks, bricks and other missiles at soldiers in riot gear who were trying to quell the protests.

    The British military said seven UK soldiers had been hospitalised with "big bruises and some cuts".

    Four Iraqis were also reported to have been injured, some when the soldiers opened fire with plastic bullets to dispel the crowds.

    ....Glad to report that the riot appears to have been contained with minimal casualties to our team , cuts and big bruises reported , but locals and our team reporting tensions running high, due to lack of fuel,which sparked the riot, and little or no progress in getting the rebuilding started

    Local clerics not a big help, as they have the hump as well, with the lack of progress. Is there anyway to short-circuit the American administrations drip feeding, and getting a load of fuel, and several piles of planks, bricks and tools in, to get the locals started? Devil, work and idle hands etc
  2. Don't think so. As long as the septics are making the rules then we will have to tow the party line. On the good side, if it was the yanks in this situation, the body count would have been horrendous.
    Vietnam anyone? Easy cliche, I know, anyone any idea how long this will take or it's outcome?

    Disturbances have broken out for a second day in the southern Iraqi city of Basra as frustration over fuel shortages boiled over.
    British troops have reportedly fired warning shots as groups of local people burned tyres and attacked vehicles.

    It comes after scuffles in several different areas of the city on Saturday when an estimated 2,000 people took to the streets in the stifling summer heat to protest about the shortages and electricity black outs.

    Power cuts and lack of diesel for generators have meant that air conditioning units and fridges have not been working in the 54C heat and high humidity.

    The UK forces are trying to provide fuel in tankers to calm the situation.
  4. OldSnowy

    OldSnowy LE Moderator Book Reviewer

    OK, the hot poop, straight fro the centre of Basra, by the wonders of the internet...

    There are further disturbances now, and more cas, but I can't say any more. The locals are indeed pissed off about lack of fuel, the hot weather, why they haven't got jobs instantly, etc., but I assure you we are doing our best. This neck of the woods was abandoned by Saddam after the GW1 and the revolt - the place is falling apart, and we can't replace 30 years of dis-investment overnight (Hmmm, I'm sounding like a Railtrack advert now....).

    More and more like NI every day, but with more guns, much hotter weather, and even nastier clerics, if that's possible.

    I'll keep you posted, as long as the internet stays up and running.

    P.S. A large amount of the spec. reconstruction and assistance is being provided by T.A. using their Civvy skills - like the MArshall Plan, but on the cheap!
  5. msr

    msr LE


    When things have calmed down, please could you expand a bit more on your post script?

  6. A few points spring to mind here.
    They are only now able to riot without "disapearing" because Uncle sad man has been booted ***********, a few months ago they would have been topped for it.

    It took years to sort Germany and Japan out after WW2 why are the press,etc so amazed that Iraq has not been sorted out in 5mins?

    Good to see the positive contribution by the T.A. being given a mention.

    Old Snowy,There are shed loads of us over here in the U.K. Rooting for all of you out there, obviously you have to be a bit carefull, but all info is keenly received,
    especially as every thing the journo's pump out has to be taken with a pinch of salt.
    Best of luck to all of you. GFF :wink:
  7. OS

    Good to hear from you, glad you and the guys are flying the flag with the locals.

    Maybe one of our lurking journos would like to do a story,on how hard British Forces ARE working to rebuild a neglected and shattered infrastructure?
  8. and everyone else that made this happen

    Funny how the BBC haven't mentioned this at all. Still, this is excellent news.
  9. OldSnowy

    OldSnowy LE Moderator Book Reviewer

    OK, back on line, and time for a quick update. Firstly, for good reporting, watch Sky News - far more balanced than the BBC, which as usual only goes for the bad noews.

    Secondly, it's much calmer here now - the youth are waving again, rather than chucking things. Still a few nasty incidents, but it's a big city, and there are weapons everywhere, and it's bloody hot, so I don't see that as being unusual. Not nice, but to be expected (Imagine London or Brum if everyone had an AK - or do they already?).

    As to a bit more about what is going on here -

    The reconstruction of Iraq is led by the CPA (check out their website, on ) which has the Country divvied up into sectors, based on the Provinces (like Counties). CPA South is Brit led, and covers four provinces. In there, there is a massive effort to bring back decent conditions for the locals. There are teams helping with water, power, fuel, education, irrigation, hospitals, you name it. Many countries are involved - including some you probably wouldn't think of - and all are working hard. However.... this region has not had any investment for 30 years, and it shows. Pumps and generators are knackered, hospitals ill-equipped, etc., and that's even before the looting. So. the West have their job cut out. Also, as the locals have nothing, they are sorely tempted to take everything/anything. For example, power supply would be easier if people didn't steal the cables to melt down for copper scrap (another point - good rumour is that a certain neighbouring country is buying this scrap at way above market value. Obviously, some people don't want to see the Iraqis helped, or at least don't want the West to be seen to be helping them...). Fuel is geting through, but local hoods tend to hijack the garage after a shipment arrives, steal it all, and sell it at inflated prices. Hence, loads of very hot squaddies guarding petrol stations, and not getting any thanks for it, I can tell you.

    Back to the reconstruction. There is a lot of specialist skill required, from banking to policing to civil engineering. A Lot of this is done by the 'proper' people (coppers, especially) but lots isn't, and that's where the TA come in. Quite apart from the good work done by the CIMIC teams (largely TA), quite a few guys are being taken out of their TA trades, and used for their Civvy skills. This is how the Marshall Plan worked in Germany after the War, and it is going well here too. Humble beginnings, but I think most of us here are therefore doing a bit more for this God-forsaken country this way than by carrying out our mobilised roles.

    I know it's not what I trained to do for all those Camps and weekends, but I do think I'm helping the poor devils here a bit, and they certainly need it. You never know, they may actually start mobilising people on this basis in future - but I wouldn't bet on it!

    Sorry to go on!

    P.S. Any mobilisation for Telic 3 on the cards?
  10. Old Snowy

    Thanks for the updates. Any news from our TA colleagues in the sandpit, is always good. Really proud of what you and the guys have achieved, flying the flag for the UK, British forces and of course, the TA.

    I really believe, what you're doing , is providing a shining example of how the TA can be "re-roled" on peacekeeping deployments. Yes, we are soldiers first, but we all have civilian skills, we can bring to the party. If a guy is a skilled telecoms engineer, a Mechanic, a builder or whatever, even though he is trained as an Infantry soldier, then why not roll the sleeves up, and give him a busmans holiday?

    Maybe MCM should start looking at what the Soldier's civilian occupation is, and deploy him in that role in this sort of situation? Just think , you'd get that person, doing a job he knows and enjoys, at a fraction of the cost, and you still get a trained soldier on the ground! And of course, he's still available for a bit of Sangar bashing or stagging on when needed..

    CIMIC sounds interesting, anyone got point of contact?

    Keep on building and flying the flag mate :)

  11. Telic 3 will be starting in November - I have received a request to task people, but don't know what the TA input will be.
  12. Mr Happy

    Mr Happy LE Moderator

    Considerable from what I hear - due to numbers needed.
  13. We have it being published on part one orders for regulars nurses to volunteer from the cosy NHS trusts that they work in seeing as half of them complain about deploying, can not see the UAO's being inundated with personnel for that one. Am sure that the TA slots will be filled. Looking forward to OP TELIC four it will be a TA field hospital in situ.
  14. More from Basra

    Strong words from Iain Pickard , I hope he hasn't dropped himself in the doodoo for telling it as he sees it..... :([
  15. Mr Happy

    Mr Happy LE Moderator

    They're not that strong, I'm getting:

    I've done my best with the OPSEC, if anyone can spot a hole PM me and I'll correct tout suite.