September 27, 2005
Were British Soldiers Hostages From the Start?
My online friend who posts as "Silverlining," a Japanese MSM journalist who spent some time in Iraq and still has contacts there, offered an interesting speculation regarding the two British soldiers who were arrested by the Basra Police, then handed over to al-Sadr’s militia, the Mahdi "Army," and were finally rescued by the British Special Forces.
Silverlining thinks that the Mahdi militiamen, who had infiltrated the Basra police, kidnapped those two soldiers to be used as hostages from the very beginning, in retaliation for the British capturing two militiamen. On September 18th, the day before the British soldiers were apprehended, the British had arrested two key figures of al-Sadr's militia.
Sheik Ahmed Majid Farttusi and Sayyid Sajjad were detained in an early morning raid and are accused of being involved in attacks that killed at least nine soldiers, according to a statement from coalition forces.
This caused quite a stir in the area. The next day, during a demonstration by Sadr's supporters demanding their comrades’ release, the British soldiers were “arrested.” Although the police claimed these soldiers were conducting some sort of special undercover operation, the way these soldiers were dressed, Silverlining thinks they were simply a part of the British force, which was trying to contain the demonstration.
As Dafydd posted earlier, three different sects of militia have heavily infiltrated the Basra police. It is not so hard to imagine that some of Sadr’s men in the police got an order for this kidnapping. The fact the police casually handed them over to the militia seems to support his speculation. Perhaps Sadr's men intended to use the soldiers as barganing chips to release the militiamen.
What they did not consider was that the British army does not take kidnapping kindly. They should have known that the lion may be old, but it is not toothless.
Hatched by Sachi on this day, September 27, 2005, at the time of 11:26 PM
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» Big Lizards' Commenter Scoops NYT! from Big Lizards
Back on October 6th, one of our Japanese commenters, Silverlining, noted in the comments to Were British Soldiers Hostages From the Start? that the militiamen who had infiltrated the Basra police were a gang of thugs called "the Jameat." Some... [Read More]
Tracked on October 11, 2005 11:47 PM
» British Policy Still Clueless from Big Lizards
Earlier I wrote that "the [British] lion may be old, but it is not toothless." But I might have written in haste. Yesterday, the UK Government announced that they will pay for the damage they caused during the September raid... [Read More]
Tracked on October 12, 2005 6:08 PM
The following hissed in response by: justamomof4
"They should have known that the lion may be old, but it is not toothless."
That may be true, but it will only be understood once Sadr and his henchmen are no more.
The following hissed in response by: RBMN
I guess some are still following the traditional Saddam-era police ethics. If you need something, find someone who has one, and kidnap their spouse. These old traditions die hard.
The following hissed in response by: justamomof4
Seems they are working on convincing them that they are not toothless after all . . .
NAJAF, Iraq - An attacker set off an explosion in the home of a bodyguard of radical Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr on Wednedsay, killing two people and wounding five others, al-Sadr aides and a hospital official said.
The following hissed in response by: silverlining
Apparently, two British soldiers arrested by Basra police were members of the Special Reconnaissance Regiment(SRR). So, my first inference concerning their position was not correct.
SRR, the new special forces regiment fot the British army, formed with HQ at Hereford from volunteers of other units to support international expeditionary operations in the fight against terrorism. It's absorbing 14th Intelligence Company(formed for operations against Ulster terrorists) and releasing the SAS for the "hard end" of missions.
The two British soldiers are believed to have been investigating a corrupt police unit in Basra who were colluding with Shia militia leaders. I've heard that their investigation triggered the detention of Sheik Ahmed Majid Farttusi and Sayyid Sajjad, leaders of al-Sadr's militia, by British troops.
Some Iraqi policemen in Basra have been acting like gang, indeed: assasination, murder, smugling, and extortion. Such gang-like policemen, with connection at ministerial level in Baghdad and allegedly funded by Iran, is allowed to carrry on with impunity and remains at large and in uniform.
Specifically, the al-Jameat police headquarters in southwestern Basra is the base for about 200 Iraqi policemen and included units of the Internal Affairs Directorate and Serious Crimes Unit, both heavily implicated in a series of abductions and killings in Basra.
Sheik Ahmed Majid Farttusi and Sayyid Sajjad are believed to be senior leaders in the police mafia at al-Jameat and commanders of a terrorist group receiving funding and weaponry from Iran.
The bottom line is that after the two British soldiers were arrested while obserbing al-Jameat, the policemen and their militant allies tried to barter them in return for the release of Farttusi and Sajjad.
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