Basra: MoD has the answer - Disband police and 'create' a Militia
Secretary John Reid is planning to scrap the 25,000-strong police force in southern Iraq and replace it with a new military-style unit capable of maintaining law and order.
Reid ordered a root-and-branch review of security in the troubled province following last week's disastrous clashes between British troops and Iraqi police.
The violence has also led to the scrapping of a detailed plan that could have seen UK forces withdrawn by May next year. Instead, it now seems certain Prime Minister Tony Blair will have to keep British troops in the country until 2007 at the earliest.
The sudden U-turn on Britain's military commitment to Iraq has caused anger and despair in military circles. One former defense chief told Scotland on Sunday the Iraq expedition had been a "colossal political failure".
In comments that will pile pressure on Blair over his handling of the conflict, General Anthony Walker, a former Deputy Chief of the defense Staff, told Scotland on Sunday: "The soldiers should have said to the politicians 'f*** this, we are not going into this conflict until you tell us how you are going to deal with this country once we have won you the war'.
"But they didn't, and it now looks as though we will be there a lot longer than we planned."
The dramatic events in Basra last week, when British troops attempted to rescue two SAS men from an Iraqi jail and were confronted by angry local police and protesters, have forced an urgent rethink.
There was a further setback yesterday in attempts to restore normal relations between the British military and Basra city officials when it emerged an Iraqi judge had ordered the arrest of the two special forces soldiers who sparked the incident. The original withdrawal plans foresaw a reduction in the British military presence in two of the four UK-controlled provinces in southern Iraq - Maysan and al-Muthanna - by the end of this year. The handover would have been completed next spring with the withdrawal from Basra and Dhi Qar and the departure of the last of Britain's 8,000-plus troops.
But the general decline in security, and the disclosure that many members of the Basra police force owe allegiances to rival militia leaders, has sent UK planning back to the drawing board.
MoD officials fear the only lasting solution to the infiltration may be the creation of a new military police force, uncontaminated by external influences. Creating the new force - which would wear combat uniforms and be trained in military tactics - could take over a year. Read more
db:Let me get this right - UK forces are going to be in Basra 'a lot longer than planned' because of the 'general decline' in security and the 'disclosure' that many members of the Basra police force owe allegiances to rival militia leaders. The UK had drawn up a 'detailed plan' that could have seen UK forces withdrawn by 'May next year' but this was screwed up by the traitorous rebellion of local natives - evident in their hostility towards the famously even-handed and studiously diplomatic rescue of the two SAS [heroes] from an Iraqi jail - who had been caught red-handed by Iraqi police painting Basra schools....
Don't mistake this 'news report' for MoD-written propaganda - because quite clearly the scotsman has a quote from a retired general who chastises 'the politicians' . That's balance you see.
The scotsman's biggest insult to it's readers intelligence must be the parroting of the MoD's 'solution' to it's troubles with the natives down Basra way - creation of a 'military police force' , uncontaminated by external influences. Creating the new force - which would wear combat uniforms and be trained in military tactics - could take over a year......
Ok, we know what sort of uniforms they are going to wear, we know that they are going to be 'uncontaminated' by 'outside forces' [British forces - so incredibly well embedded with the locals - are defined as 'internal' forces] and we know that it's going to take us .....oh.... about a year to produce 25,000 of these new clones of the empire [you think it will take longer?]
As final and spectacular testimony to the absolute cluelessness in this starkly 'colonial' strategy of the UK they say that they will 'scrap' the existing Basra police force. Well, John - please do - this is your best idea yet - because those boys are going straight into a full time career with the insurgency. And whilst you are spending the next year bribing and compromising [and borrowing] a new 'untainted' militia to do your dirty work for you, these guys are going to be kicking British arse right across southern Iraq - which will lead to either a 'shameful and humiliating' withdrawal of UK forces in the face of 'defeat' or a major escalation in the UK commitment .
This is so unworkable - it's probably disinformation to manipulate the enemy [former allies].