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Barrett808 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 07:11 PM
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Operation Sinbad: Mission failure casts doubt on entire British presence
Operation Sinbad: Mission failure casts doubt on entire British presence
'Rogue elements', politics and lack of manpower in Basra clean-up make limitations of coalition forces frighteningly clear.
By Raymond Whitaker

An operation by British forces in southern Iraq to root out death squads and extend civic control in the city of Basra has hit political problems and resulted in a series of retaliatory attacks, The Independent on Sunday has learned.

About 1,000 British soldiers are taking part in Operation Sinbad, seen as a crucial test of the ability of the UK-led multinational force (MNF) in southern Iraq to "clean up" the country's second-largest city. Working with about 2,300 Iraqi troops, the aim is to cordon off areas of Basra one by one, take over police stations infiltrated by "rogue elements" and allow contractors to carry out quick projects aimed at boosting public confidence, such as repairing street lights and clearing rubbish.

But the MNF spokesman, Major Charlie Burbridge, said yesterday that since the start of the operation on 27 September, there had been a spate of "what appear to be co-ordinated attacks" on military convoys. "We are treating these as retaliation by the rogue elements we are targeting." No one had been hurt in the attacks, which numbered about four or five, the major said.

Although two soldiers, one British and one Danish, were killed in Basra last week, the attacks in which they died were not believed to be connected to Operation Sinbad.

...

According to other sources, however, there were doubts on the British side about the wisdom of the operation, and as soon as it started there were protests to Baghdad from the militias. "There was deep disquiet among British military commanders and diplomats in Iraq beforehand," said one source. "The Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki, immediately demanded that the operation be heavily restricted in scope. It virtually came to a halt after one wave of raids, which demonstrated from the highest level to local militias that they can operate with impunity."

(more)

http://news.independent.co.uk/world/middle_east/article...



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