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British Smash Into Iraqi Jail To Free 2 Detained Soldiers

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 20, 2005 11:35 am    Post subject: British Smash Into Iraqi Jail To Free 2 Detained Soldiers Reply with quote

Double edged sword?
Here you are!
The Brits had it coming to them!
After more than 200 years of fiddling & conducting the Islamic tune, it is a high time that they (the Brits) also listen to their own creation, meaning, Islamic sham orchestra?!

A British soldier, his uniform in flames, prepares to jump from a personnel carrier during rioting that broke out in Basra when Britain sought the release of two detained commandos. His injuries were minor. (By Atef Hassan -- Reuters)

British Smash Into Iraqi Jail To Free 2 Detained Soldiers

By Ellen Knickmeyer and Jonathan Finer
Washington Post Foreign Service
Tuesday, September 20, 2005; Page A01

BAGHDAD, Sept. 19 -- British armored vehicles backed by helicopter gunships burst through the walls of an Iraqi jail Monday in the southern city of Basra to free two British commandos detained earlier in the day by Iraqi police, witnesses and Iraqi officials said. The incident climaxed a confrontation between the two nominal allies that had sparked hours of gun battles and rioting in Basra's streets.

An Iraqi official said a half-dozen armored vehicles had smashed into the jail, the Reuters news agency reported. The provincial governor, Mohammed Walli, told news agencies that the British assault was "barbaric, savage and irresponsible."

A British soldier, his uniform in flames, prepares to jump from a personnel carrier during rioting that broke out in Basra when Britain sought the release of two detained commandos. His injuries were minor. (By Atef Hassan -- Reuters)

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British officials said three soldiers were hurt in the day's violence, in which at least one armored personnel carrier was destroyed by firebombs. Iraqi officials said at least two civilians were killed.

In London, authorities said the two commandos were released after negotiations. But the BBC quoted British defense officials as saying a wall was demolished when British forces went to "collect" the men.

Monday's violence underscored the increasing volatility of Basra, a Shiite Muslim-majority city that had previously escaped much of the violence of the Sunni Muslim-led insurgency. Tension has been growing between British forces in the city and Shiite police and militias that operate there.

On Monday, an Iraqi reporter working for the New York Times was found shot dead on the outskirts of Basra with his hands bound, his family and security sources said. The reporter, Fakher Haider, had been handcuffed and taken away from his home Sunday night by four masked men who said they wanted to interrogate him, his family said.

"This murder of a respected colleague leaves us angry and horrified," Bill Keller, the newspaper's executive editor, said in a statement. "Fakher was an invaluable part of our coverage for more than two years. His depth of knowledge, his devotion to the story and his integrity were much admired by the reporters who worked with him."

Elsewhere in Iraq, anti-corruption investigators said they expected charges against the country's former defense minister, Hazim Shaalan, in the alleged embezzlement of more than $1 billion that was meant to help rebuild the country's security forces.

In Baghdad, Ayman Sabawi, a nephew of deposed president Saddam Hussein, was sentenced last week by an Iraqi court to six years in prison for financing the insurgency and making bombs, said Army Lt. Col. Guy Rudisill, a U.S. military spokesman.

Near the Shiite holy city of Karbala, bomb and mortar attacks killed at least five Shiite pilgrims as millions gathered for an annual religious festival there.

Basra, a city of 1.5 million, is heavily under the control of Shiite political parties and fighters of the Badr militia of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, the Shiite religious party that has a leading role in Iraq's government.

Citizens and authorities allege that Badr fighters have infiltrated police forces and are carrying out abuses under the guise of police authority. Rivalry also runs strong between those militia fighters and the militia of Moqtada Sadr, a Shiite cleric.

Attacks on Westerners -- once a rare event in Basra -- have targeted British and U.S. diplomatic convoys in recent weeks and killed at least eight Britons and Americans.

Earlier Monday, gunmen loyal to Sadr attacked the house of Basra's governor to press demands for the release of two prominent members of the cleric's militia whom British forces arrested Sunday.

The killing of the New York Times reporter took place six weeks after an American freelance journalist, Steven Vincent, was kidnapped and killed in Basra, allegedly after being taken away in a marked police car. Vincent had published numerous articles, including in the Times, alleging heavy-handedness by Basra security forces and deriding Sadr and other Shiite officials.

Britain is the second-leading contributor of foreign troops to the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq, with 8,500 troops compared with 140,000 Americans.

Iraqi security officials on Monday variously accused the two Britons they detained of shooting at Iraqi forces or trying to plant explosives. Photographs of the two men in custody showed them in civilian clothes.

When British officials apparently sought to secure their release, riots erupted. Iraqi police cars circulated downtown, calling through loudspeakers for the public to help stop British forces from releasing the two. Heavy gunfire broke out and fighting raged for hours, as crowds swarmed British forces and set at least one armored vehicle on fire.

Witnesses said they saw Basra police exchanging fire with British forces. Sadr's Mahdi Army militia joined in the fighting late in the day, witnesses said. A British military spokesman, Darren Moss, denied that British troops were fighting Basra police.

Another Western military spokesman in Basra confirmed "an ongoing disturbance" in the city on Monday but said Iraqi and British forces were working together to quell it.

In the southern city of Latifiyah, an insurgent stronghold, bombs targeted Shiite pilgrims driving and walking to Karbala for an annual rite. A car bomb hit the crowd of pilgrims first, followed 10 minutes later by mortar rounds, said police Capt. Muthanna Ahmed.

A suicide bomber killed five Iraqi policemen and two civilians Monday when he blew himself up near an Iraqi police commando patrol in Mahmudiyah, about 15 miles south of Baghdad, the Associated Press reported.

Special correspondents Saad Sarhan in Najaf and Omar Fekeiki in Baghdad contributed to this report.
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 21, 2005 9:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear Mr.Hakimi,

Initially it was reported that the two Brits were arrested for "planting IED's" , now it seems they were detained by "rouge elements" within the Iraqi police force.

Recently the IRI accused Brits and Americans of being "responsible" for the many terrorist bombings in Iraq.

It is common knowledge that the IRI has infiltrated southern Iraq with regime agents, sent material support to terrorists ( money, weapons and explosives) to destabilize Iraq.

It would seem to me that it is quite possible if not probable that the two Brits were arrested on false acusation in order to try and "prove" IRI acusations, by IRI agents who'd infiltrated the Basra police force.

What the Brits did to free the men may have prevented the IRI from completing their agenda.

Putting history aside for the moment...

How do you see this being something the Brits "deserved" if indeed this is the case and the end result is that the IRI's involvement is exposed to the world?

And do you agree with the analysis I've outlined here?
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 21, 2005 10:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is really what is going on, Wed edition of the WSJ. Like they say ... if you want to know whats really going on in the world read the wed WSJ


Basra Violence Challenges U.S. Strategy

September 21, 2005
The Wall Street Journal
Yochi J. Dreazen

A surge of violence in Basra, Iraq's second-biggest city, has raised new doubts about the U.S.-led coalition's strategy for pacifying southern Iraq by giving free rein to Shiite religious militias with ties to neighboring Iran.

Backed by the U.S., the British forces in southern Iraq have effectively looked the other way as Shiite Muslim religious parties solidified their control over the city's government and as militia members joined the local police force while maintaining loyalty to militia leaders. The policy choice rested on an unspoken trade-off, with the British banking on the militias' ability to prevent insurgents from sowing instability or endangering Basra's ports and oil fields.

The coalition strategy for Basra has left militiamen in control of Basra's police force and Shiite fighters in plain clothes circulating openly in the city. A combination of the two forces has been blamed for the abduction and murder of two journalists, including one American. The forces are also at the center of the growing international dispute with Britain that erupted this week after British tanks crashed through a Basra prison and British forces raided a private house to free a pair of undercover commandos who had been arrested by Iraqi police and then handed over to militiamen.

The new violence has sparked fears that the Shiite militias aren't under the control of either the British forces in the city or the central government in Baghdad. In the case of the British soldiers, the Interior Ministry in Baghdad ordered officials in Basra to release the two men, but the demands were ignored.

"The British policy was the triumph of short-term stability over long-term success: The Shiite militias metastasize like cancer when they find out they can get away with things," said Michael Rubin, a former adviser to the American occupation authority in Iraq now at the American Enterprise Institute. "We always think we're playing the Iraqis, but they always end up playing us."

The uptick of violence in southern Iraq comes amid unrelenting insurgent attacks throughout the country. Eight American soldiers were killed in roadside attacks yesterday, while a suicide car bombing near the northern city of Mosul killed a State Department security officer and three American security contractors.

It is also happening as Shiites ratchet up their demands for far-reaching regional autonomy in southern Iraq ahead of a key referendum next month on the country's draft constitution. Shiite leaders are pressing for the creation of an oil-rich quasistate comprising Basra and eight neighboring provinces, a step fiercely opposed by Sunni Muslim Arabs, who complain that Shiite leaders are using militias and government forces to intimidate them through mass arrests and targeted killings.

The new tensions in Basra stem from the Shiite religious parties' growing impatience to impose strict religious law across the region and establish a largely independent regional government, said Kenneth Katzman, an Iraq expert at the Congressional Research Service, which provides analysis to U.S. lawmakers. He noted that Shiite militias in Basra have already begun effectively segregating the city's schools, beating up or arresting alcohol sellers and forcing men to wear beards.

"The militias and the parties want Islamic law and a form of Islamic government in Basra, and they're increasingly impatient with anyone trying to restrain them," he said. "What we're seeing is the creeping Islamization of that entire region."

The Shiite parties' main instrument for expanding their power over Basra has come from their ability to place militiamen in the city's police force. In an interview with a British newspaper this summer, Basra's police chief, Gen. Hassan al-Sade, admitted that three-quarters of his force of 13,600 men were openly loyal to the religious parties. Western visitors to the city say police cars there are emblazoned with posters of the Shiite parties.

"You have fighters from the different militias in the police force who don't give their allegiance to the police commander or the governor," said Peter Khalil, a former security adviser to the occupation authorities who now works for the Eurasia Group, a consulting company in New York. "These guys have just seeped in for months, with no transparency in their recruitment and no vetting of their backgrounds."

Sunni residents of Basra have complained for months that Shiites are using government security forces to conduct mass arrests and targeted killings designed to intimidate them. Shiite leaders have denied the accusations, but tensions between the two groups continue to rise.

Three British soldiers have been killed so far this month in roadside bombings that London attributed to Sunni militants who infiltrated the region from the restive central province of al-Anbar. The Sunni fighters' ability to carry out the attacks in a predominantly Shiite region suggested that embittered Sunni residents of the Basra area have begun offering shelter and other logistical support to militants from other parts of the country, Mr. Katzman said.

"The fact that Sunnis there are now welcoming insurgents from the rest of Iraq is obviously very worrisome," he said.

Write to Yochi J. Dreazen at yochi.dreazen@wsj.com
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 25, 2005 4:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tehran training Shi'ite militants, British sayBy Con Coughlin
September 25, 2005
LONDON -- British military intelligence officers believe that Iranian Revolutionary Guards are responsible for training and supporting members of the Shi'ite group that seized and threatened to kill two British troopers in Basra last week.
They are investigating suspected links between Iran and more than a dozen groups in southern Iraq that are believed to be behind the upsurge in attacks on coalition forces.
"We know that scores of Iranian agents have been operating in southern Iraq, and we have received reports that the group that briefly held the two British soldiers has links to Iran," said a senior coalition security officer. "From what we have seen, the Iranians are setting out to incite the local Shia to attack coalition troops."
The two soldiers, who were working undercover and wore Arab dress, were arrested on Monday by police after reportedly killing an Iraqi policeman who was trying to detain them.
British troops, who are responsible for security in the area, later that day stormed a Basra jail looking for their two men. A further raid was then mounted on a nearby house to free them after the soldiers had been spirited away from the jail by Shi'ite militiamen.
On Thursday, local authorities in the town announced they were halting cooperation with British forces because of the British action. And yesterday, an Iraqi judge issued arrest warrants for the British soldiers.
Accounts from Basra suggest that the abduction of the men from a police station was the work of the Mahdi's Army street militia, loyal to Moqtada al-Sadr. The militia is believed to have been forging closer links with Iran since its failed uprising against the coalition last year.
The Mahdi's Army was once distrusted by the clerical regime in Tehran because of its strongly Iraqi nationalist bent. But in recent months, Iran is thought to have initiated a closer relationship to destabilize British-controlled southern Iraq.
Six British troops and two security guards have been killed by Islamist insurgents during the past few months, and the British military fears that the violence will intensify before next month's referendum on Iraq's new constitution.
On Thursday, Saudi Arabia's foreign minister, Prince Saud al-Faisal, told reporters in Washington that he was concerned over reports of Iranian military, financial and political meddling in Iraq's affairs. And earlier in the summer, Britain and the United States lodged official complaints with Tehran over its continued interference in southern Iraq. Apart from sending Revolutionary Guards, the Iranians have been blamed for smuggling arms to Iraqi insurgents, including the infrared devices used against British patrols.
British officials believe that the Iranians recently have intensified their efforts to disrupt coalition efforts to establish a functioning democracy.
Many of Iran's hard-line clerics are concerned about the establishment of a secular Shi'ite government in Baghdad. Even though Islamists won the recent general election in Iran, they fear a challenge from the vocal, and influential, lobby that wants to loosen the ayatollahs' grip on power in Tehran.
The mullahs fear that if, as expected, Shi'ites take control of Iraq after the referendum, the secular government will be a challenge to the hard-line theocracy that holds sway in Iran.
But although Iran's involvement in southern Iraq is a cause for deepening concern in both Washington and London, an even bigger problem for British forces in the region is the growing radicalization of local Shi'ites.
When British troops were first stationed in Iraq after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, they were generally welcomed as liberators and developed good relations with tribal leaders. That relationship has begun to unravel as rival Shi'ite groups jostle for position in advance of elections due next year.
While the majority of Iraq's Shi'ites are happy to settle for the secular constitution currently proposed, some of the more radical groups, particularly those with ties to Teheran, are insisting that Iraq adopt a more Islamist form of government.
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 05, 2005 11:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Source: BBC NEWS

Iran 'behind attacks on British'

There have been violent anti-British protests in Basra
Britain has accused Iran of responsibility for explosions which have killed eight British soldiers in Iraq this year.
A senior British official, briefing correspondents in London, blamed Iranian Revolutionary Guards.

He said they provided the technology to a Shia group in southern Iraq. The Iranians had denied this, he added.

While UK officials have hinted at an Iranian link before, this is the first specific allegation to be made.

It could be that they feel there is nothing to lose right now, given that diplomatic relations are already low following the breakdown of talks over Iran's nuclear programme, the BBC's Paul Reynolds says.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the technology had come from Hezbollah in Lebanon via Iran and produced an "explosively shaped projectile".

He said that dissidents from the Mehdi army, a militia controlled by the radical Shia cleric Moqtada Sadr, were suspected of carrying out the attacks.

One of their leaders, Ahmed al-Fartusi, was arrested by British forces recently and was "currently enjoying British hospitality", as the official put it.

It was that arrest which sparked off an anti-British protest in Basra recently.

Saddam trial postponed?

The official said that protests had been made to Iran and that the Iranian government had denied responsibility.

Asked about an Iranian motive, the official said that it could be that Iran felt that it had to show that it could not be "pushed around".

The official also said that the trial of Saddam Hussein, due to start on 19 October, might be postponed until after the elections in December.

Logistical arrangements for the trial, including a witness protection programme and even whether bullet proof glass was to be used around the dock, had still not been decided, he said.
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