Sunday, December 9, 2007

Conspicuous consequences

Is today's news that at least 40 woman have been found killed and mutilated in the Iraqi port of Basra this year a signal of what will happen when British forces leave southern Iraq later this month? The woman are believed to have been killed by religious vigilantes who objected to the women's choice of clothing, the Associated Press reported. The murders raise the spectre of a descent into anarchy and violence in southern Iraq when the British troops complete the handover of security responsibilities to Iraqi forces. I wonder if war planners had strategy for that. "Those who are behind these atrocities are organized gangs who work under cover of religion, pretending to spread the instructions of Islam, but they are far from this religion," an Iraqi commander, Maj. Gen. Jalil Khalaf, told the AP. Before the U.S.-led invasion in 2003, Basra was known for its mixed population and vibrant nightlife. The revelation about the bodies came the same day British Prime Minister Gordon Brown landed in Iraq to rally Britain's remaining 4,500 troops. Britain had more than 45,000 soldiers in Iraq in 2003.

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