US prepares to plug hole left by British troops

Discussion in 'Multinational HQ' started by Trip_Wire, Aug 12, 2007.

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  1. Trip_Wire

    Trip_Wire RIP

    US prepares to plug hole left by British troops

    Sean Rayment and Philip Sherwell, Sunday Telegraph

    Last Updated: 1:23am BST 12/08/2007

    America is preparing to pour thousands of extra troops into southern Iraq amid fears that Gordon Brown is committed to withdrawing British troops from the region early next year.

    The White House and the Pentagon are understood to have drawn up detailed plans to secure the vital "umbilical cord" link road between Baghdad and Kuwait when the British depart.

    Washington is also concerned that a British pull-out will leave the border with Iran undefended, as well as undermining US operations at a time when political pressure is mounting for an American withdrawal.

    Tensions are understood to have deepened between London and Washington after Mr Brown's recent visit to the US, amid fears the Prime Minister is distancing himself from the Bush regime and its military objectives.

    Military chiefs in the US have been "dismayed" by the threat of a unilateral pull-out from southern Iraq by British forces.

    The Sunday Telegraph has also learnt that neither the British nor the Americans have a "Plan B" for sending troops back into Iraq if the country descends into chaos when the coalition finally withdraws. One senior source said: "Whether or not we go back in if it all goes horribly wrong is the strategic question to which neither the US nor the British government has an answer.

    "It seems to be lost on the British and American governments that Iraq holds the world's second-largest oil reserves. There is also the nightmare scenario of Iraq becoming an Islamic fundamental state, willing to give succour to groups like al-Qaeda."

    Whitehall sources admit that there is a firm consensus among British military chiefs that maintaining a presence in Iraq after the control of Basra passes to the Iraqis in November is "pointless". But while British generals firmly deny that they have been defeated in southern Iraq, there is also an increasing acceptance that the mission is facing "strategic failure" and that the war is a "lost cause".

    One senior officer, who has served on operations in Iraq, said: "In terms of intervention operations, the military can never deliver success if the policy is wrong - and in terms of Iraq the policy of intervention was wholly wrong from start to finish."

    Gen David Petraeus, the American commander of coalition forces in Iraq, is understood to have held discussions with Lt Gen Graeme Lamb, who until recently was the British deputy commander in Iraq, and Lt Gen Bill Rollo, the present incumbent, over the intentions of the British force after it hands over Basra.

    Gen Petraeus will deliver an interim report next month to the Bush administration on the success of his 22,000-strong troop surge in Baghdad. Any suggestion that the plan is working will put pressure on Mr Brown to keep British forces in Iraq.

    Ken Pollack, a foreign affairs expert at the Washington-based Brookings Institution, who returned last month from an eight-day visit to Iraq, dismissed last week the British presence in southern Iraq as "meaningless".

    He said: "I am assuming the British will no longer be [in southern Iraq].
    They are not there now. We have a battle group holed up in Basra airport. I do not see what good that does except for flying people in and out. It's the wild, wild west. Basra is out of control."

    John Pike, the director of, an American defence think-tank, said the 300-mile stretch of Route Tampa that runs from Baghdad to Kuwait was a crucial lifeline for US military operations. "It's the umbilical cord that connects the war in Iraq to the rest of the world," he said. "It will have to be secured."

    About 2,000 trucks a day travel down the highway in high-security convoys, carrying more than 90 per cent of the food, water, ammunition and equipment for the 161,000-strong US force. The route remains a key target for insurgents and just last week two British soldiers were killed on it while providing security for a convoy.

    Patrick Mercer, a former Army commander and Tory MP, added: "Whatever withdrawal timescale we adopt, we have got to understand that our commitment to Iraq is not over. We've got to face the prospect that the situation in Iraq could get worse. The question is what are our plans and responsibilities to a county whose problems we have contributed to rather than solved."
  2. To pull out of iraq at this stage would be political suicide, not only for Brown or labour, but for Britain.

    Without the American/British alliance, Western foreign policiy would be effectively crippled, as would any ability for either country to effectively plan or enact any kind of anti terrorist warfare.

    While I agree that our soldiers need to come back home, I would much rather our boys be in control of the majority of iraq, than the fleabitten mangy so-called insurgents.

    If we will not continue to fight them, when will we return? When the US has secured the area? When the US has left? When the US has lost the area??

    Our soldiers need to come home, but we cannot just dump a great massive hole in manpower on the US and expect them to fill it. To do so would be long term strategic and political suicide, possibly costing tens of lives more than the withdrawal would save.
  3. Round up all the illegal immigrants and criminals ., give them similar levels of training to national service and ship them out ., Iraq is not worth the life of one more British service person., nor is Afghanistan.
    It is about time the British government stopped listening to what the USA wants and listened to what the British people want.
  4. An erudite, visionary and eminently practical policy prescription there. Well done. Have you considered applying for the position of Defence Secretary to let Swiss Des focus his energies and talents on Jockistan on a full time basis?
  5. Ord_Sgt

    Ord_Sgt RIP

    And what is the basis for this exactly?
  6. Whilst i wholeheartedly agree with your method of ridding us of scum, i also believe it is a soldiers job to be sent to these unpleasant places. That's what we get paid for, not to sit on Salisbury Plain!
  7. Fallschirmjager, you are completly right.

    However the complete cnut of the current situation in both theatres is that the is no long term plan, goal or structure. That neither JTF Comd or tom on the ground has the equipment and resources required to defend themselves properly, nor the political support to make any real dents into their numerous factionous enemies.

    As for the US, my sympathy wanes after their CoC response to several operational decisions which they felt should have been run by them first (CR2 vs local police station, as an example).

    By all means deploy the military but deploy them properly with defined missions, endstates and above all the resources to get said job done.

    During the strategic estimate it is well past time for CDS to define the cost in comprehensive terms with ALL the resources needed, government either pays the bill in full, or they can get fcuked, simple as.