Sunday, December 16, 2007
Great to hear that British forces have turned over security responsibility in the Iraqi port city of Basra, as the Associated Press reported today, but it kind of raises some obvious questions. Were the British able to pacify southern Iraq while U.S. and coalition forces seem locked in an endless war of attrition in the rest of the country? If so, how did they do it? Or, are they just kidding themselves, and us, and is the U.S. going to have put forces there to support the Iraqi army and hold the territory from extremists? Maj. Gen. Graham Binns, the British commander, said the city had been pulled from the grip of its enemies and turned over to friends. Mowafaq al-Rubaie, Iraq's national security adviser, said his government was ready and called on Basra's citizens to work together. The British presence in Iraq costs London $12 billion annually and is very unpopular in England. Britain has lost 174 soldiers since the March 2003 invasion.