Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Does Basra Today Hint at Post-Occupation Situation?

by Joel Wendland

Reuters is reporting that Iraqi security forces are handling some violent, some not-so violent situations in Basra.

Basra is the southern port city occupied by more than 13,000 British troops until last year when popular opinion in Britain against the war forced former Prime Minister Tony Blair into early retirement and early troop withdrawal plans for British troops form Iraq.

The total number of British troops has been reduced to around 4,000.

The Jones Commission, a commission of current and retired military and civilian police security experts mandated by Congress and President Bush to give an assessment and recommendations about Iraq's security situation in 2007, reported last fall that the British troop reductions and transition efforts in Basra were good examples of how the US should develop its own plans to reduce its "footprint" and hand power over to Iraqi authorities.

So far, British troops have not become involved in this week's actions of the Iraqi government.

The US military has, however. It has attempted to provoke hostilities by sealing of the Sadr City section of Baghdad – population 2 million – and action that will not reduce violence but likely will provoke more.

This action in Sadr City is a clear and deliberate provocation intended to cause the failure of the Basra security efforts and to promote violence elsewhere. It is designed to prove to the world that the occupation is still needed.

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