They just got a different tool to use than we do: They kill innocent lives to achieve objectives. That's what they do. And they're good. They get on the TV screens and they get people to ask questions about, well, you know, this, that or the other. I mean, they're able to kind of say to people: Don't come and bother us, because we will kill you. Bush - Joint News Conference with Blair - 28 July '06

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Iraq: Daring British rescue operation or terrorism?

BBC: UK soldiers 'storm' Basra prison

British forces have rescued two UK servicemen who were arrested by Iraqi police in the southern city of Basra.

Official Iraqi sources say British tanks stormed the city's jail, but the Ministry of Defence says the men's release was negotiated.

Basra governor Mohammed al-Waili said it was a "barbaric act of aggression".

The arrests sparked clashes in which UK tanks came under attack. Two civilians were reportedly killed and three UK soldiers were injured.

MoD officials insist they have been talking to the Iraqi authorities to secure the release of the men - who were reported to be working undercover.

But they do acknowledge a wall was demolished as UK forces tried to "collect" the men Iraqi police accused of firing on them.

However, sources in the Iraqi Interior Ministry say six tanks were used to smash down the wall in a daring rescue operation.

Witnesses told the Associated Press around 150 prisoners escaped during the operation but Iraqi officials later denied any prisoners had escaped.

Earlier, two British tanks, sent to the police station where the soldiers were being held, were set alight in clashes. Read more

db: 'Daring rescue operation' - sending tanks into a prison run by the 'sovereign Iraqi government' that we are supposidly protecting from 'terrorists' and 'criminals'? What will be the repercussions of this move of desperation by the British Army? Why were they determined to remove the UK 'undercover' soldiers from Iraqi custody so swiftly? How come diplomacy was ruled out? Why did the Brits have explosives in their car? What will the Iraqis believe [long after the British media have been fed the bullshit currently being thought up at the MOD and have started looking the other way]? And, importantly, excluding the Iraqis who were killed today how many more will die because of these acts?

I am not confident that we will get credible answers - and in their absence the British Army's reputation in Iraq will take another dive - and accusations that the US and UK forces are operating a Salvador strategy in Iraq will become louder and more convincing.