mardi 4 septembre 2007


Photo: An Iraqi soldier flashes a victory sign as he holds the Iraqi flag on the gate of Basra Palace, in Basra, 550 km (342 miles) south of Baghdad September 3, 2007. British troops quit the southern Iraqi city of Basra on Monday, an Iraqi general said, ending the British presence in the oil hub for the first time since the U.S.-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein in 2003. REUTERS/Atef Hassan (IRAQ)


Brits Flee from Basra
The withdrawal of British forces from Basra Palace, ahead of an expected full withdrawal from the city as early as next month, marks the beginning of the end of one of the most futile campaigns ever fought by the British Army. Ostensibly, the British will be handing over control of Basra to Iraqi security forces. In reality, British soldiers control very little in Basra, and the Iraqi security forces are largely run by the Shia militias.

The British failure is almost total after four years of effort and the death of 168 personnel. "Basra's residents and militiamen view this not as an orderly withdrawal but rather as an ignominious defeat," says a report by the Brussels-based International Crisis Group. "Today, the city is controlled by militias, seemingly more powerful and unconstrained than before."

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