Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Britain and the Quagmire of Iraq

Simon Jenkins, who along with Max Hastings is one of the few right-wing journalists I can tolerate, has a frightening analysis of the predicament of the British Army in Southern Iraq:
The scenes broadcast yesterday from Basra show how far authority in southern Iraq has collapsed. This is tragic. When I was there two years ago the south was, in its own terms, a success. While the Americans were unleashing mayhem to the north, the British were methodically applying Lugard-style colonialism in Basra. They formed alliances with sheikhs, bribed warlords and won hearts and minds by going unarmoured. There was optimism in the air.

British policy demanded one thing, momentum towards local sovereignty and early withdrawal. There was no such momentum. An ever more confident insurrection was allowed first to impede and then dictate the timetable of withdrawal. Sunni terrorists now hold American and British policy in their grip. The result has been an inevitable civil collapse. We do not even know on which side are the Basra police.

The British government - and opposition - is in total denial. Ministerial boasts can't conceal the gloom of private briefings. Blair has done what no prime minister should do. He has put his soldiers at a foreign power's mercy. First that power was America. Now, according to the defence secretary, John Reid, it is a band of brave but desperate Iraqis entombed in Baghdad's Green Zone. He says he will stay until they request him to go, when local troops are trained and loyal and infrastructure is restored. That means doomsday. Everyone knows it.

To read the entire article, click here.

Oh and please add a comment if you know the origins of the term Lugard-style colonialism.


Blogger Phil said...

about 15 paragraphs down

2:00 pm  
Blogger roGER said...

Thanks for that, Phil - what a rant!

11:06 am  

Post a Comment

<< Home