Friday, April 25, 2008

The "Men in Black" vanish and people emerge

The Times Online reports that there's a new sheriff in Basra town.

Young women are daring to wear jeans, soldiers listen to pop music on their mobile phones and bands are performing at wedding parties again.

All across Iraq’s second city life is improving, a month after Iraqi troops began a surprise crackdown on the black-clad gangs who were allowed to flourish under the British military. The gunmen’s reign had enforced a strict set of religious codes.

Unlikely as it sounds, the Iraqi Army has succeeded where the British Army failed. And the question is why? First, the Iraqi Army has the numbers the British could never have. Second, being a largely Shi'ite force (albeit with a significant Kurdish component and some Sunnis) it was "local". Third, it was backed by American combat power. This last cannot be underestimated. The most potent forms of force on the battlefield are from support weapons like UAVs, helicopters, aircraft and artillery. A unit's small arms make up maybe 15% of all the lethality it can dispose of. The 85% comes from supporting fires. So with American fire support behind it the Iraqis were very nearly as lethal as the British when the enemy chose to stand and fight. The Times story continues:

Raids are continuing in a few remaining strongholds but the Iraqi commander in charge of the unprecedented operation is confident that his forces will soon achieve something that the British military could not – a city free from rogue gunmen. ...

The security forces have also torn down many banners supporting al-Mahdi Army as well as portraits of its leader, Moqtada al-Sadr, though some still remain in militia strongholds.

The contrast could not be more stark with the last time The Times visited Basra in December, when intimidation was rife.

Many blame the British for allowing the militias to grow. “If they sent competent Iraqi troops to Basra in the early stages it would have limited the damage that happened in our city,” said Hameed Hashim, 39, who works for the South Oil Company.

As a man once said, "yes we can".

Meanwhile, Moqtada al-Sadr has said he's not going to fight. The LA Times has a story headlined, "Iraq cleric Muqtada Sadr says truce still stands". The question is, does he have a choice?

BAGHDAD -- Radical cleric Muqtada Sadr reminded his followers Friday to observe a truce that has been nearing collapse, pulling back from a showdown against fellow Shiite Muslims in the Iraqi government.

In a statement read in mosques during Friday prayers, Sadr said his recent threat of "open war" was aimed only at U.S.-led forces and urged his followers not to fight Iraqi troops. He also urged the Iraqi police and army "to be close to their people and far from the occupier, because we will not be blessed with peace as long as they occupy our land."

Maybe Sadr hasn't got the word. Those of his militias which are considered "rogue" are to turn in their guns and put their hands on their heads. But maybe Sadr is making these inutile pronouncements so that pundits in the West can say that Basra was cleared because "Sadr let them". Or maybe an alternative story line is that Basra is being cleared because the Iranians 'are demonstrating how they can turn the violence on and off any time they choose'. Sure.

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Blogger jj mollo said...

... UAVs, helicopters, aircraft and artillery ...

So what you seem to be saying is that the measure of force is remote force delivery systems. Everything else is intelligence. Soldiers with small arms are really just scouts. Tanks are armed reconnaissance vehicles. We only need this stuff to tell the gunships where to shoot. The enemy's mandatory strategy is restricted to interfering with our vision and interfering with our local legitimacy.

4/25/2008 08:41:00 PM  
Blogger Wretchard said...

As long ago as World War 2, artillery caused 3x more casualties than small arms fire. So if you measure -- in a wargaming sense -- the combat power of an Iraqi unit with US fire support controlled by embedded Americans the Iraqi unit will have a lot of lethality when the enemy stands and fights.

Of course this is not the whole story. The British units are probably going to be able to do other tasks far better. But if you have a fight in an area where the enemy is restricted in his manuever, the advantage of an Iraqi force, which can understand the language and has these heavy fires on call, can be considerable.

4/25/2008 08:45:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

War, what’s it good for?
Maliki now knows
Prime Minister Maliki’s offensive against the Sadr militia in Basra continues to produce positive results:

4/25/2008 09:00:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Basra battle validates U.S. exit strategy

DJElliott said...

Once the Iraqis realized they had a bit more than the green 14th Division could chew,

They shifted a Division to Basrah of experienced troops in five days.

Five Days on no-notice.

We have problems doing that...

Assembled at Basrah in those five days:
- 1st Div HQ from Anbar
- 1st Bde(-) from Anbar
- 3rd Bde from Diyala (based Anbar)
- 14th Bde from Salahadin
- Karbala IP Emergency Response Bde from Karbala
- Hillah SWAT Bn from Babil
- INP ERU Bn from Nasariyah (based Baghdad)

Since then the 1st INP Mech Bde from Baghdad and the 1-39th Bn from Mosul (based Muthanna) have arrived and are probably replacing the Karbala ERB and Hillah SWAT.

4/25/2008 09:06:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

bb said...
It should also be remembered that the Iraqi shia are Arabs, not Persians. Furthermore, Iraqi nationalism is a far more potent force in Arab Iraq than most western commentators seem to realise.

I commend reading Nibras Kazimi at Talisman Gate بـاب الطلــسم whose connections and sources within the new Iraq are unparallelled. His posts on the so-called Basrah uprising have since been shown as accurate in every respect.

4/25/2008 09:12:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Haynes paints the picture of a city that has undergone dramatic changes for the better.

Radio Dijla is reporting that the Emiratis have handed over Ismail al-Wa'ili, the brother of Basra's governor, who is wanted by an Iraqi arrest warrant on charges of oil smuggling and other criminal activity. I had heard that he was hiding in Kuwait rather than Dubai ever since Operation Cavalry Charge began. The story of the arrest warrant is true but I'm unsure about the handover, but if it checks out then that's an indication that Maliki is also moving against the Fadhila Party.

Another criminal kingpin who was once affiliated with the Sadrists, Sattar al-Bahadili, was also arrested a couple of days ago.

4/25/2008 09:15:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

4/25/2008 09:24:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Deborah Haynes of the The Times becomes the first western journalist to see the situation in Basra with her own eyes.

"Can someone get an online petition going to goad the New York Times and the Washington Post into sending a reporter to Basra?
Isn't about time to get a first hand account out of a place that made front-page news all throughout last month?"

3run0 said...
Deborah Haynes has a blog, in case you are interested.

4/25/2008 09:25:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

I'm not understanding what is being said about the Brits in Basra, other than the fact that they let the bad guys flourish with their "softly softly" approach.

Wretchard says that Iraqi's provide 15% of fire power with American backup presumably making up the other 85% to more efficiently kill bad guys.

Since the Brits couldn't efficiently kill bad guys on their own, does that mean that (1) they didn't have the same 85% of effective fire power as the Americans, or that (2) the Brits had their own 15% but the Americans let them twist slowly in the wind without backing them up?

In other words, were the Brits ineffective because while their spirit was willing, they didn't have enough or the right kind of big guns; or because they couldn't do it on their own and needed American backup?

4/25/2008 10:27:00 PM  
Blogger Coyotl said...

Or maybe an alternative story line is that Basra is being cleared because the Iranians 'are demonstrating how they can turn the violence on and off any time they choose'. Sure.

Turning the spigots off and on is a reductio ad absurdum -- what can be verified is that Iran has extensive history and contacts with Maliki's Da'wa party and still supplies logistics and intel to his parliamentary partner SIIC (SCIRI) and its Shiite Islamist militia, the Badr Organization. Surely, Wretchard, you don't deny this. (?)

Nor would you deny that Iran's ambassador, Hassan Kazemi Qumi, has expressed his government’s strong support for the Iraqi assault in Basra. He too, it seems, applauds the crackdown on Sadr and various "outlaws".

Nor would you deny that Sadr denounced Ayatollah Khamenei for his "betrayal," and according to Pajamas Media, is very upset that SIIC receives more funding from Iran than he's getting:

Or would you deny all this Wretchard, because it doesn't fit with your notion that the US is backing the Shiite faction that has the fewer ties to Iran?

But interviews with more than two dozen military, intelligence and administration officials showed that while shipments of arms had continued in recent months despite an official Iranian pledge to stop the weapons flow, they had not necessarily increased.

Iran, the officials said, has shifted tactics to distance itself from a direct role in Iraq since the American military captured 20 Iranian operatives inside Iraq in December 2006 and January 2007. Ten of those Iranians remain in American custody.

Since then, Iran seems to have focused instead on training Iraqi Shiite fighters inside Iran, though the exact number remains unclear. Some officials said only handfuls of fighters at a time had recently trained in Iran. At the same time, Iran has sought to retain political and economic influence over a variety of Shiite factions, not just the most extremist militias, known as “special groups.”

. . .

Iran has sought to spread its influence inside Iraq not only by its support to militias, officials said, but also through legitimate economic assistance, in particular across the oil-rich Shiite south.

The Iranians also support a number of Shiite parties and militias — including providing weapons to militias fighting the Shiite-led government in Baghdad as well as to militias supporting that government.

. . . There is evidence, officials said, that Iran may not have control over the various Shiite groups it had armed. According to a senior American official, Iran has at times been angered when Iranian weapons were used for intra-Shiite fighting, rather than for killing Americans.

“Iran has hedged its bets,” said Ted Galen Carpenter of the Cato Institute, who has written extensively about Iran’s role in Iraq. “It doesn’t know which Shiite faction is going to come out on top.”

4/25/2008 10:58:00 PM  
Blogger The Anti-Jihadist said...

Nahncee, probably a little of both.

We cannot be surprised that the 'softly softly' Brits let the men in black pajamas run around their sector in Iraq, spreading terror in their wake.

The Brits, lest we not forget, are the same military that recently has done the following:

-instructed its people not to use force on Islamic pirates (don't want to 'violate their human rights', don't cha see)

-surrendered meekly to an Iranian speedboat that infamously incurred into Iraqi waters last year and kidnapped some Brit sailors, which was a cheap yet effective propaganda coup for the Iranian mullahs

-is running short on all things needed to make a military work, from bullets to tongue depressors, thanks to years and years of budget cutting, combined with a remorseless tempo of simultaneous operations in two different combat zones

It's all part and parcel of a leftie British strategy (unconscious or otherwise) to dhimmify, starve and wither the mighty establishment that spawned greats like Churchill, Nelson and Cromwell. Those worthies must be turning over in their graves by now.

4/25/2008 11:06:00 PM  
Blogger Dave said...

England has outlawed any and all forms of self-defense by its civilian populace.

Do you expect their military to be a bunch of tigers?

Same political control/thinking shapes both civilian and military.

4/25/2008 11:13:00 PM  
Blogger Dave said...

By the way Wretchard: WET (Weather, Enemy, Terrain) still has a great deal to say about what is lethal and what is not.

Small arms dominated everybody's casualty rates in VN.

Whichever side got CLOSE fire support going first generally carried the day. The US had a large edge in total firepower
but the mobility afforded by B40s and B41s (in copious quantities) sometimes meant the the NVA got there fustest wif' de mostest."
Firendly forces prevailed in Basra because they made the most effective use of what they had available. Good news.

4/25/2008 11:19:00 PM  
Blogger Cannoneer No. 4 said...

jj, the measure of kinetic killing firepower is much as you describe, but soldiers with small arms are more than just Forward Observers for stand-off ordinance delivery. They are the boots on the ground Iraqis can tell things to, the presence in the neighborhood that encourages resistance to the Men In Black. Every problem that CAN'T be resolved by the proper application of high explosives gets resolved by them. Competent Iraqi infantry with US Fire & Effects on call has taken a long time to achieve, but they're in Basra now doing great things.

Nahncee, the small arms toted by the individual infantryman, rifles, carbines, pistols, light machineguns, grenade launchers, provide about 15% of the kinetic killing firepower. That's pretty much the same in all western armies, British included. The British Army probably does not provide fire support on as lavish a scale as the US Army does. Americans have been much more inclined to blow something all to hell and secure the rubble afterward than to take casualties clearing it. Biggest problem with the Brits in Basrah has been politicians in London and generals thinking that what worked in Belfast would work in Basrah.

4/26/2008 02:02:00 AM  
Blogger Teresita said...

Dave: England has outlawed any and all forms of self-defense by its civilian populace

You mean the civilian populace in the ancient democracy known as England has required firearms, including shotguns, to be registered.

4/26/2008 04:50:00 AM  
Blogger George said...

No, Dave meant exactly what he said.

The withdrawal of a basic right of Englishmen is having dire consequences in Great Britain, and should serve as an object lesson for Americans. Today, in the name of public safety, the British government has practically eliminated the citizens’right to self-defense. That did not happen
all at once. The people were weaned from their fundamental right to protect themselves through a series of policies implemented over
some 80 years.

The Government seems to vacillate between deep concern about this phenomenon and attempts to reassure the public that the situation is not as dire as it appears. In its usual fashion, it has sought to address the problem with new legislation.

In 1997, its first year in office, it introduced the Knives Act, which prohibited the marketing of combat knives.

In 2006 came the Violent Crime Reduction Bill, which banned the sale of knives to those under 18 and increased the penalty for possession of a knife with intent to cause harm (presumably a difficult point to prove beyond doubt).

4/26/2008 06:45:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

I sighest.

Coyotl is *still* getting his/her news from the dead tree media and then - even worse - quoting it to the rest of us as proof of something.

Coyotl - listen up! The New York Times makes up and prints lies. So do the Washington Post and the LA Times, and the TV 6:00 newspeople.

I don't know where you've been for the past decade or so when they've been revealed as liars time after time after time, but if you'd just Google the good old internet a little bit, surely even you would be embarrassed into shutting the hell up until you find some other more worthy surfboard to ride your ideas on.

The latest example of your precious NYT and their unslanted accuracy is their overt declaration immediately after the Maliki's Iraqi's entered Basra that it was a failure and a disaster. And, if you weren't in a coma at the time, do you remember what Pinch and his cohorts had to say about what was happening with "the Surge"?

And now, in the 4th month of the 8th year of a new millennia, you are STILL quoting them as some sort of accurate soothsayers?!? It really doesn't speak very highly of the amount of respect you hold the rest of us in, that you think we're all that stupid.

4/26/2008 07:31:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

(you cannot defend yourself in your own home, which is even true in some states of the USA)
In Hawaii, you are supposed to retreat to another room and not shoot, even if the perp is locked and loaded.

4/26/2008 07:32:00 AM  
Blogger Cannoneer No. 4 said...

The Leftist view on gun control is captured wonderfully by commenter redherkey on Obama Doesn’t Want You to Defend Yourself at Pajamas Media:

Obama’s probably very troubled by the presence of Karate, Judo and other martial arts schools. These operations train citizens in self-defense, leading them to believe that they and not authorized law-enforcement can take defense matters into their own hands. Most programs have advanced levels that train the citizen with deadly force (e.g. “black belt”, which celebrates death in the symbolism of its color). The programs circumvent legal authority and enable the citizen to determine whether one’s rape or robbery is unjust, without the facts about the root cause of action. Instead of allowing the perpetrator to commit the crime and contemplate his/her actions, or permitting law enforcement to investigate, arrest and present the accused before a system that can fully measure the impact of the accused’s childhood, socio-economic background, race and other sources of oppression, the citizen becomes policeman, judge and jury in a single individual.

I don’t have the actual statistics, but like Obama, I have to believe the frequency of harm to citizens is significant when they fight back. At a minimum, the citizen is placed at risk. More alarming is the threat to the mugger, rapist or other emotionally confused individual. Instead of permitting their offense without resistance, which many Obama supporters would feel is a righteous response to societal oppression and economic disparity, too many assaulting individuals become victims of the citizen’s harmful vigilante response. Lethal force often becomes the unbalanced, inequitable response to a minor rape or robbery. Money can be replaced and sexual integrity restored after a violation, but the lives of confused perpetrators cannot be once lost by an unbalanced defense.

This election year provides us all with an opportunity to disarm the citizenry, providing every criminal with a greater chance for economic redistribution or if caught by a designated law-enforcement representative, retraining, re-education, therapy and regrowth through a law enforcement assistance shelter. Martial arts, handguns and other weapons of intolerance can be ended if we just give Obama the chance to change our society.

Apr 5, 2008 - 1:30 pm

4/26/2008 08:08:00 AM  
Blogger Teresita said...

George: Today, in the name of public safety, the British government has practically eliminated the citizens’right to self-defense.

Gosh, that means Britain is no longer a Democracy and they can't join our proposed parallel UN of nothing but democracies. This explains why Scotland is talking about breaking out of the United Kingdom.

Okay, sarcasm mode off. My point is that Britain is not actually ruled by the Queen, but is self-governing. Even the House of Lords has been emasculated. So any gun-control laws they are resorting to in England are the will of the people. Vox Populi.

4/26/2008 08:26:00 AM  
Blogger Coyotl said...

Coyotl is *still* getting his/her news from the dead tree media and then - even worse - quoting it to the rest of us as proof of something.

Coyotl - listen up! The New York Times makes up and prints lies. So do the Washington Post and the LA Times, and the TV 6:00 newspeople.

Nahncee, do you ever bother to actually read the Belmont Club? Here's an exercise for you: Scroll past the main page and count how often Wretchard quotes from the NYTimes, LATimes or Washington Post. Go ahead.

Let' see, we have "Petraeus is nominated Centcom CINC," "Rage Boy," "Enemy is Sight," "Why the Campaign Against Sadr," etc., ect. Sometimes these are critical readings, sometimes they are straight up informative like "Yo Ho Ho" or the update in "Understanding the Fight Against Iran in Iraq" (April 14).

So, why don't you be consistent and leave a comment deriding the "pointed lies" in each and every one of those posts? Should keep you busy -- unless of course, you don't object to these sources when they give you info you like.

But this is childish on your point Nahncee, and a queasy dodge as well. Are you REALLY denying that Maliki was trained and succored in Iran during the Iran-Iraq War? That he fought on the Iranian side? That he is an avowed Shiite Islamist who belongs to a Shiite Islamic Terror party that has murdered Americans? That he is firmly allied with the pro-Iranian Khomeneist party SIIC which STILL receives money, intel and weapons from Iran? Go ahead and deny any of those points.

Somehow, in your substance free critique, you also missed the PAJAMAS MEDIA article on Sadr and his DENUNCIATION of Iran and the Ayatollah Khamenei. Why? Is it too painful for you to read and process?

Go ahead, I challenge you to read and respond to:

Are these all "pointed lies" printed in Pajamas Media, or are you less than informed?

And as to whether I think you, in particular, are stupid or not . . . well, I'll reserve expressing judgement until you can answer the questions above.

4/26/2008 09:09:00 AM  
Blogger Teresita said...

George: The people were weaned from their fundamental right to protect themselves through a series of policies implemented over some 80 years.

I'm still having a hard time understanding how a democracy ends up having "policies implemented" to wean people away from their "fundamental rights". Are you saying that England is a dictatorship, and that the majority of the people want to have 12 gage street sweepers and semi-auto assault rifles?

4/26/2008 11:23:00 AM  
Blogger Dave said...

Teresita: If you are in England and a rapist/mugger/robber starts to do you great harm and you cannot flee, you must submit or have the court sentence you to some years in prison.

The right to self-defense has been outlawed. That is because England, while adhering to some democratic formulas, abandoned the notion of a republican form of governance shortly after World War I.

Over there, people like you got their way about guns etc. Over here the precepts of a federal republic still apply. I will give you 1911 A1 reasons they will continue to do so.

4/26/2008 03:24:00 PM  
Blogger amr said...

When I was in London 3 years ago, Americans arriving there for school were given a lecture about self-defense policies by a policeman and asked to turn in any pocket knives and pepper spray. And any form of self-defense is punishable under the law; that is taking away the policemen’s job said one Brit. The equivalent to the chief of police said that the biggest problem for law enforcement was guns. Remember no one is allowed to have a handgun and hunting rifles are disassembled and locked up and GB is an island.

We have serious gun control in Chicago and see what happened there last week-end. The citizens allowed that gun control regime as was done in DC. Neither has worked, so I guess the call for a more far reaching program will be enacted unless the Supreme Court defines the 2nd Amendment as a individual right. We would be in the same spot as a country as is GB if the NRA was not as strong as it is. I also don’t think the British government has any concerns about its good citizens rising up against it when it has all the guns.

As I have noted in my own life, the police have never intervened or prevented a crime against me or those I know. Fortunately only one of the crimes was a directly violent one. The police investigated to some degree each crime and in one case I had to investigate and find the perpetrator. I reported the info to the police as a good citizen should and they still didn’t react until the evidence was disposed of. I am not in favor of vigilantism, however since consequences seems to be few for crime unless it is to the extreme, a more proactive self-defense appears to be necessary in the future. I now have a permit to carry.

4/26/2008 05:06:00 PM  
Blogger dla said...

I really don't understand why ol-bean-teeth has gone this way. Maybe he thought he could broker some major political power by going rogue. Or maybe he thought the Americans would cut & run and not do a "surge".

In any case, Sadr has come very close to to political (and physical) extinction. I think he made some very bad choices.

I still don't understand why the US allowed him to live - he was easy to kill. Maybe the Military decided it was easier to keep a single Mahdi army than 5 splinter groups post bean-teeth.

I don't see how bean-teeth has any choice but to surrendur with a lot of phony noise. I hope the Iraqi's let him keep face instead of exterminating him.

By the way, regarding gun control, only the loser nations like Britain, and loser cities like DC and Chicago enact failed measures like gun control, and then tell themselves they need more. Such total denial.

4/26/2008 07:08:00 PM  
Blogger Teresita said...

Here's a book that will keep you up nights. Quantico by Greg Bear was first published in 2005 but has been updated every year since then to capture the latest changes in technology as we spin headlong into the scary world of the next decade depicted in the thriller. There has been another 9-11 scale terrorist attack on the United States, this time on October 4, carried out after the destruction of the Dome of the Rock mosque in Jerusalem by a Jewish bomber. A new alphabet soup of agencies have sprung up, including the Bureau of Domestic Intelligence and the mysterious BuDark. It is a time when news of the the capture of the 2001 Amerithrax perpetrator is overshadowed the next day by a NUCDET in the Iranian Tactical Area of Responsibility.

In post 10-4 America homegrown bio-hackers create real viruses, not computer ones, while Sunni factions in Iraq test the results on captured Jews and Shiites. Genes are spliced into yeast to create airborne mad cow disease, and dispersed by ordinary fireworks from the back of a truck. Specific trucks are taken out in Mecca during the Hajj by steel telephone poles dropped from orbit, guided by lasers, to drive them into holes and vaporize them before they can release their deadly cargo. Israel starts assassinating the extended families of suicide bombers, but still they come. While the House of Saud is overthrown by a US backed coalition of Arabs in a "controlled burn" revolution, hoping to keep the oil flowing, liberals in Congress, backed by Madam President and incensed by the discovery of "patriot files" on them systematically dismantle the FBI even as the final class of agents undergo training at the FBI Academy on the Quantico Marine Corps Base in Virginia. This is their story.

4/27/2008 07:10:00 AM  
Blogger Rykehaven said...

A buddy in Watertown sent me your article with some pretty revealing commentary (the kind you can't let your kids read).

The article reads: "Hundreds of British and American troops are on the ground alongside the Iraqis and coalition aircraft fly overhead."

To paraphrase my esteemed colleague in the 14th: That is Bogus. There are no brits "embedded" with the Iraqis.

Let's get one thing straight: the British (hell, the COALITION'S!) idea of training the Iraqis is/was, at best, impersonal. They give them lectures and tell them how to clean their weapons (oh brother), then leave their charges to their own devices. Part of this was lack of enthusiasm and part of it was the knowledge that they weren't planning on staying very long and had no interest in building long-term relationships with the Iraqi Military. AT BEST, they provide a rangemaster. To make things clear, try telling somebody in the combat arms community that your military training involved lectures and trips to a non-stress shooting range. We'll ALL laugh at you. The Brits NEVER ONCE took the Iraqis into the field, showed them how to coordinate with themselves or each other, show them how to secure and sweep, etc, let alone operate alongside them in urban combat.

And this article claims that the Brits, after having NO history of interoperability with the Iraqis, are suddenly leading the Iraqis to victory in a high-profile operation?

That's not the way it happens.

This isn't an equipment module where you just plug and chug. People are not software upgrades. You can't "plug" any British Unit into or even alongside the Iraqi 10th infantry and expect them to perform. It takes time to build that rapport (which the US Army and some people in the other services have done) or you're asking for trouble. Granted, it's not impossible to do it on the fly, but think about it: why would we or the Iraqis risk screwing with chemistry and unit cohesion just to get the Brits into the fight; a fight that they've been advocating AGAINST for the past 3 years in defense of their truce with the Shi'ite Militias? IN SPITE of constant harrassment fire and IED's?

The British have been denied everything from real-time surveillance services to SIPRNET access for reasons that go far beyond NOFORN. Even if they started training with the Iraqis today, they're too far behind in the game to make a difference now. More importantly, they've been marginalized to the point that they can't do us or the Iraqis any more damage.

Their withdrawal last year (as if they hadn't already EFFECTIVELY withdrawn), at the least, meant the loss of dead weight; their departure was always a necessary prerequisite before taking on the Shi'ite Militias including those not in Basra like Sadr's hold outs. For as long as the 10th Mountain and their brethren have been fighting the Militias including Sadr's, the Brits would always condemn, complain to and RUN INTERFERENCE against CENTCOM by filing bogus reports of cooperation with local Shi'ite leaders when they WEREN'T EVEN ALLOWED TO ENTER THE CITY and even LOST contact with a few of their contacts months before! IT'S NO SECRET that they've been trying to undermine this kind of operation from its inception.

Today they are not even advisors in Iraq; they are observers, whose only real utility appears to be taking credit for operations not their own.

4/27/2008 03:47:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

Rykehaven - I don't understand your sputtering indignation. Surely after listening to Bush tell us for years now that Islam is a Religion of Peace, and to Condoleeza Rice tell us that Palestinians are partners in peace, and to Jimmy Carter tell us it's all the Jews fault, if you were smart you'd be with the program and merely nod sincerely when someone gives British troops (and commanders) the same amount of props we give Americans.

I do believe it's OK to snicker at British sailors, however, after their dismal encounter with Persians in small boats.

4/27/2008 04:48:00 PM  

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