October 12, 2005
British Policy Still Clueless
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 to rescue two British soldiers, according to BBC.
The joint statement said: "We regret the incidents that took place in Basra on 19 September 2005 at the Serious Crimes Unit.
"We also regret the casualties on both sides and the material damage to public facilities.
"The British government is prepared to pay valid claims for compensation for casualties and material damage in the well-established manner."
This announcement came after British troops arrested twelve insurgents last Friday without the cooperation of the corrupted Basra police, according to an October 7th AP article.
On September 21st, AP reported that after the September rescue raid, the governor of Basra Province, Mohammed al-Waili, publicly "threatened to end all cooperation with British forces unless Prime Minister Tony Blair's government apologizes for the deadly clash with Iraqi police."
The British government has already issued an apology. But Basra's provincial council continued to demand compensation. From the September 21st AP article:
In a statement, the council demanded Britain apologize to Basra's citizens and police and provide compensation for the families of people killed or wounded in the violence.
Why did the Brits choose to reward the terrorists? They decided they needed the cooperation of the officials in Basra Province; it was extortion, plain and simple. The Basra police are largely terrorists themselves now, thanks to the previous "softly, softly" strategy of Great Britain. We haven't heard much about this growing problem, but it has been brewing for a long time now.
Since the beginning, the British prided themselves in their soft approach in Basra and other areas under their jurisdiction. The relatively peaceful situation seemed to justify this strategy, exemplified by their insistance on wearing cloth berets instead of helmets while on patrol. But beneath the surface, Shia militiamen with strong ties to Iran, including the infamous "Mahdi Army" of Mugtada Sadr, slowly (but not so secretly) have taken over the Basra police. By May of this year, the Basra police chief said only one quarter of his men could be trusted.
According to our correspondent Silverlining, there was a bombing near the Iran border last June that killed three British soldiers. The bomb used was very similar to those that Iran provides to Hezbollah. This prompted the British to bring in their Special Reconnaissance Regiment (SRR) for investigation.
Silverlining, who has proved to be an accurate source before, speculates that the kidnapped soldiers were SRR members investigating the Iranian connection inside the Basra police, and that they had been directly responsible for arresting two members of Sadr's terrorist army. In the comments to a previous Big Lizards post, Silverlining wrote:
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.
My own speculation is that British soldiers were kidnapped for retaliation as well as for bargaining chips; they were responding to anger on the part of Iran-supported Shia, and they also intended the British histages to be used as bait in a hostage exchange.
With all this going on, what purpose does it serve the British to kow-tow to the Basra provincial council? True, we need their cooperation; but this is equivalent to paying ransom to kidnappers. What was the point of rescuing them in such a dramatic way, if they then turn around and pay for the damages?
The British have fumbled the ball here. The Basra police and the provincial government are totally corrupt. I don’t know if the British can straighten this out on their own; but the more they show weakness, the more British soldiers will be attacked.
Tony Blair insists that Great Britain will not pull out of Iraq, and the British do continue to make arrests. Just yesterday, Defence Secretary John Reid praised the troops involved in the very raid for which Great Britain now pays compensation and apologizes; so all is not lost by any means.
If the UK does indeed prove true and stays the course, then I would have to say that the lion's gums may be getting a bit mushy, but his fangs haven't fallen out quite yet.
Hatched by Sachi on this day, October 12, 2005, at the time of 6:11 PM
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It should hardly be a shock to discover that the so-called Shiite torture prison was in fact run by militias who had infiltrated the local police and security services. Sachi blogged about that general problem more than a month ago,... [Read More]
Tracked on November 17, 2005 2:14 PM
The following hissed in response by: KarmiCommunist
Brits are not "toothless".
i spent 3 years in England...as an American. Like from 8 years old until 11 years old. Went to Brit schools during those years. The Headmaster would mention my being an American...the HeadMISTRESS had my permission to cane me humble fingertips when ever She felt the urge (quite sexually arousing for me).
The baddest Brit student would soon challenge me to a fight, with the rest of the Male students lining up behind him whilst they apparently sought 'sOmEtHiNg' fair, in a fight, and perhaps hoping for a chance to kick the "Yank's" arse. The Headmasters would always be looking from a window, unseen by all others, other than my glimpses of him whilst i was trying to survive.
One by one, i would 'leg-flip' each student, and get ready for the next one. i'm talking fairness here. Imagine a trained Army of such people, and understand how Argentine lost the Falklands' War so quickly.
Trust me...i don't understand why we and the Brits have cut the Iraqis so much slack in this War, but suspect that there is a bigger picture.
School after school...no ganging up unfairly on a single American student sticks in my mind. i don't call that or such as being "toothless".
Just my opinion,
The above hissed in response by: KarmiCommunist at October 12, 2005 11:02 PM
The following hissed in response by: Patrick S Lasswell
It is really a temporary situation in Basra, because the insurgency that is giving them the grace to build their power base is faltering. When the flow of arms, money, and terrorists stop flowing in from Syria, the police trained in Mosul will be free to clean up the south.
As long as the British are in the South, they always have the threat of turning over the area to the Americans and the the Iraqi Army. What can the Basra crime families offer but armed insurgency to greatest counter-insurgents in the world? The Southern criminal's success path was if the insurgency stayed strong and the national forces stayed weak. Now that the reverse is happening, Basra is due for a change of management.
The above hissed in response by: Patrick S Lasswell at October 13, 2005 12:40 AM
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