What Happened in Basra?

#1
To all HM's soldiers and marines,

I am an analyst with the US Army Reserve and my reserve unit is due to deploy in the near future to Iraq. In preparation for the upcoming rotation I have been reading a bit about the history of the war up to this point and I have come across several disturbing articles online that pertain to UK operations in the Basra. Name this times article Iraq snubbed Britain and calls US into Basra battle - Times Online and this one from the independent Revealed: The true extent of Britain's failure in Basra - Middle East, World - The Independent. Both pieces state that UK forces were unable to contain the Shiite militias and that after PM Blair pulled British forces out of Iraq Al-Maliki had to send in the IA with US support to clear out the militants.

I want to hear the Basra story from British squaddies and officers.
 
#3
I got a suntan and a medal.

Oh, and D&V, but we don't like to talk about that.
 
#4
In a nutshell

We came, we saw, we pacified

In July 2006 we 'pacified' Al Muthanna province (we did) Later we 'pacified' Maysan province (did we ****!) and even later still we 'pacified' Basra (did we double ****!!)

These were 'timelines' ... ie: decisions, made by poisonous, political, socialist filth who despise our Military and don't listen to sound, military advice from the Commanders on the ground. Just like you have in The Whitehouse today. Enjoy
 

Biped

LE
Book Reviewer
#6
decisions, made by poisonous, political, socialist filth who despise our Military and don't listen to sound, military advice from the Commanders on the ground.
Properly in a nutshell.
 

the_boy_syrup

LE
Book Reviewer
#7
To all HM's soldiers and marines,

I am an analyst with the US Army Reserve and my reserve unit is due to deploy in the near future to Iraq. In preparation for the upcoming rotation I have been reading a bit about the history of the war up to this point and I have come across several disturbing articles online that pertain to UK operations in the Basra. Name this times article Iraq snubbed Britain and calls US into Basra battle - Times Online and this one from the independent Revealed: The true extent of Britain's failure in Basra - Middle East, World - The Independent. Both pieces state that UK forces were unable to contain the Shiite militias and that after PM Blair pulled British forces out of Iraq Al-Maliki had to send in the IA with US support to clear out the militants.

I want to hear the Basra story from British squaddies and officers.
Goldbricker is that you ya little scamp


We agreed a pull out date we pulled out
It kicked off we weren't there to sort it out
Some Americans viewed this as a defeat

They are organising your victory parade through Baghdad as I type

Good luck with that
 
#8
Warmonger82,

At the height of the troubles in Northern Ireland, there were in excess of 18,000 British troops in Belfast alone. It took three decades to bring the conflict to a close - and that in a part of the United Kingdom, where the local populace spoke the same language and shared much the same culture as the soldiers on the ground. In Basra, by contrast, there were far fewer troops to try to control a much larger and more 'alien' city. Commanders knew that more troops were needed, as well as a long-term commitment and a willingness to accept substantial numbers of casualties. None of these things were politically acceptable back home; the campaign was deeply unpopular with the electorate, leading to the absurd situation of the Government having to stuggle to justify the deployment of a relative handful of extra troops and looking for an exit strategy almost as soon as the invasion was over, regardless of whether Basra was pacified or not.

Many of us who served in Iraq feel betrayed by our political masters, who managed the campaign in such a way as to leave us with both hands tied around our balls. Unlike veterans of, say, the Falklands War, our fate will not be to look back with pride at a victory but to put up with 14 year old boys typing things like 'Brit faggots' on internet message boards. Your own Vietnam vets will know the feeling, I'm sure.

Yes, we failed in Basra. It's worth bearing in mind though that various American commanders expressed admiration for the British troops 'on the ground', that of the 318 non-US coalition fatalities, 179 - well over half - were British and that along with Australia and Romania we were the last of your allies to leave Iraq (when the Iraqi Government asked all non-US troops to leave).

Hope that helps.
 
F

fozzy

Guest
#9
In a nutshell

We came, we saw, we pacified

In July 2006 we 'pacified' Al Muthanna province (we did) Later we 'pacified' Maysan province (did we ****!) and even later still we 'pacified' Basra (did we double ****!!)

These were 'timelines' ... ie: decisions, made by poisonous, political, socialist filth who despise our Military and don't listen to sound, military advice from the Commanders on the ground. Just like you have in The Whitehouse today. Enjoy
The whole enterprise was doomed when the desicion was taken to purge the Iraqi administration of Ba'ath party members and disband the Iraqi Army (oh the fun of paying them). There was no way we could succeed.
 

OldSnowy

LE
Moderator
Book Reviewer
#10
The whole enterprise was doomed when the desicion was taken to purge the Iraqi administration of Ba'ath party members and disband the Iraqi Army (oh the fun of paying them). There was no way we could succeed.
Oh God, paying them! what larks, Pip, what larks... I'm pretty sure I've still got my Iraqi Army ID (and avalid Iraqi Passport) which was bought in a Market in Nasiriyah; they were great sellers.

The Brit experience in Basra is slowly starting to be documented, and the general concensus emerging is one that, yes, while the Army may have been 'stabbed in the back' by politicians who showed little support and interest once Saddam was gone, that meanwhile their own leadership was also completely complicit in this. They may have been making the most of a bad job, but none complained publicly, and very few privately. Things were not helped, of course, by the fact that there was the usual rush to get people in and out every six months in order to spread the Command experience out well - no-one imagined that we'd be doing it harder, and for longer, a few years later in Afghanistan :)

I'm sure that it will go down with Fontenoy, Singapore, and Tobruk as something that we'll do our best to forget about.....
 
#11
Goldbricker is that you ya little scamp


We agreed a pull out date we pulled out
It kicked off we weren't there to sort it out
Some Americans viewed this as a defeat

They are organising your victory parade through Baghdad as I type

Good luck with that
Boy Syrup

I didn't mean to offend, and I beg your pardon if any was taken. Those pieces were from British newspapers NOT American ones. I am simply asking for the opinions of British soldiers on what happened in Basra. I ask for your opinion because because I have always felt that British army of the Cold War era were the counterinsurgency experts, hell you guys had Field Marshal Templer!
Personally I have always viewed the Brits as the go-to-guys when it comes to fighting guerrillas be they in Malaya, Borneo, Oman, Cyprus, Aden, and of course N. Ireland. That being said I found the articles about Basra to be very troubling. If the premier COIN force in the NATO alliance lost control of Basra it doesn't bode well for US efforts in either Iraq or A-stan.
 

the_boy_syrup

LE
Book Reviewer
#12
Boy Syrup

I didn't mean to offend, and I beg your pardon if any was taken. Those pieces were from British newspapers NOT American ones. I am simply asking for the opinions of British soldiers on what happened in Basra. I ask for your opinion because because I have always felt that British army of the Cold War era were the counterinsurgency experts, hell you guys had Field Marshal Templer!
Personally I have always viewed the Brits as the go-to-guys when it comes to fighting guerrillas be they in Malaya, Borneo, Oman, Cyprus, Aden, and of course N. Ireland. That being said I found the articles about Basra to be very troubling. If the premier COIN force in the NATO alliance lost control of Basra it doesn't bode well for US efforts in either Iraq or A-stan.
No offence was taken mate

It was just on another thread Goldbricker stated "The Brits fled Basra like the end of Wild Geese with your tail between our legs"
Then this thread started and I hought it might be him
Thats why I put the coment about your troops going home also no offence meant
It'll be viewed as a defeat for all of us Brit /U.S. and any other

The old adage "we won the battles but lost the war" is more apt
 
#13
The whole enterprise was doomed when the desicion was taken to purge the Iraqi administration of Ba'ath party members and disband the Iraqi Army (oh the fun of paying them). There was no way we could succeed.
and don't forget the Police who were also purged, and along with the suddenly 'ex' soldiers joined the various Militias. Now whose idea was this?? Ah yes, Dick Cheney, bless him!
 
#14
Was "De-Baa'thification" embarked on as a policy simply because politicians thought that it would draw parallels to "denazification"? Sometimes I wonder...

I have to admit to being genuinely baffled by some of the news stories that emerged from Basra, particularly the justification for colluding with militias over the Basra city pullout being "there might be fighting". Wasn't beating the militias the Army's job?
 

chrisg46

LE
Book Reviewer
#15
Quick query - US Army Reserve deploying now? I thought all units had left now, other than training and SF type ones? And they are due to go mid next year?
 
#16
Quick query - US Army Reserve deploying now? I thought all units had left now, other than training and SF type ones? And they are due to go mid next year?
Chris,

Currently 6 US Army advise and assist brigades remain in Iraq. They are spread across the northern, central and southern areas of operation. My reserve intel unit will deploy to support the theater command next year and we will probably by divided into three groups for each of the AO's. Regardless of what you hear in either the UK or US media, tens of thousands of US forces will remain in country after 2011.
 
R

really?_fascinating

Guest
#17
You are in an intel unit and it has taken you three years to notice something went bad in Basra? Are you sure you are not a Brit?
 
#18
#19
Try Reading Ministry of Defeat by Richard North it makes painful reading but it does give the full anaylsis as to how the British Army was stabbed in the back through poor equipment and a general lack of willpower amongst politicians and the MOD to push for victory.
When Blair agreed to take Britain to Iraq he wanted a repeat of the Gulf War a quick victory then instant exit that he could take the credit and secure his reputation. When the reality proved far from his liking he sought to Iraqify Basra and the surrounding areas as quickly as possible as the campaign become more unpopular at home.
So while the Insurgency grew British forces shrank, the final blow came when Brown became prime minister because the campaign was so unpopular by then his first priority on taking over was to end it as soon as possible.
The British army was never allowed to truly get to grips with the insurgency if they had done a surge of their own things may have been different but neither the goverment or the MOD had the will to do that.
 

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