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'winning' in Iraq means.... « Previous | |Next »
December 18, 2007

Joel Fitzgibbon, Australia's new defense minister, recently warned U.S. and NATO allies that they risk losing the war in Afghanistan without a sharp shift in military and reconstruction efforts there. So how are things in Iraq these days?

The British have pulled out of Basra claiming that things there went pretty much according to plan. A recent article in The Guardian entitled UK has left behind murder and chaos gives a blunt assessment of what 'winning' in Iraq actually amounts to,

Steve Bell

Whilst the British military are saying that they have achieved victory in Basra The Guardian article says:

As British forces finally handed over security in Basra province, marking the end of 4½ years of control in southern Iraq, Major General Jalil Khalaf, the new [Iraqi] police commander, said the occupation had left him with a situation close to mayhem. "They left me militia, they left me gangsters, and they left me all the troubles in the world".

Khalaf lists a catalogue of failings made by the British, who told everybody that, unlike the Americans, they knew what they were doing in terms of winning hearts and minds.

He says:

· Basra has become so lawless that in the last three months 45 women have been killed for being "immoral" because they were not fully covered or because they may have given birth outside wedlock;The British unintentionally rearmed Shia militias by failing to recognise that Iraqi troops were loyal to more than one authority; Shia militia are better armed than his men and control Iraq's main port.

The main problem the Iraqi security forces now faced was the struggle to wrest control back from the militia. Weren't the British supposed to be fighting Islamic fundamentalism to establish a unified nation state aligned with the west?

If Basra is a success story , then what of the embattled city of Fallujah, which is still completely closed and surrounded by US military checkpoints to make it look like an isolated island. Those who are not genuine residents of the city are not granted the biometric identification badge from the US Marines, and are thus not allowed to enter the city. This is liberation--neo-con US style:

Water and electricity services are at a minimum in the city. An Oxfam International report released in July found that 70% of Iraqis do not have access to safe drinking water. Since the November 2004 siege, entire neighborhoods remain totally destroyed, and with no water or electricity. Most of the businesses in Fallujah remain closed.

Three years of war---the great surge leading to victory--has turned Fallujah into a wreck of a city.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 05:11 AM | | Comments (0)
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