A secret deal between Britain and the notorious al-Mahdi militia prevented British Forces from coming to the aid of their US and Iraqi allies for nearly a week during the battle for Basra this year, The Times has learnt.
Four thousand British troops – including elements of the SAS and an entire mechanised brigade – watched from the sidelines for six days because of an “accommodation” with the Iranian-backed group, according to American and Iraqi officers who took part in the assault.
US Marines and soldiers had to be rushed in to fill the void, fighting bitter street battles and facing mortar fire, rockets and roadside bombs with their Iraqi counterparts.
Hundreds of militiamen were killed or arrested in the fighting. About 60 Iraqis were killed or injured. One US Marine died and sevenwere wounded.
US advisers who accompanied the Iraqi forces into the fight were shocked to learn of the accommodation made last summer by British Intelligence and elements of al-Mahdi Army, the militia loyal to Moqtada al-Sadr, the radical Shia Muslim cleric.
I guess Neville Chamberlain lives.
Oh, but it gets better:
The British were partly handicapped because their commander, Major-General Barney White-Spunner, was away on a skiing holiday when the attack began.
The British people should be dismayed and appalled that their leaders abandoned their allies and sided with their most dangerous enemy. It’s just mind boggling. In no way do I blame the British troops. They have acted with courage when called upon….but someone high up in the chain of command should be hung for this.
Some in the British government obviously understand that this is bad….real bad, for Britain:
A senior British defence source agreed that the battle for Basra had been damaging to Britain’s reputation in Iraq. “Maliki, and the Americans, felt the British were morally impugned by the deal they had reached with the militia. The British were accused of trying to find the line of least resistance in dealing with the Shia militia,” said the source.
“You can accuse the Americans of many things, such as hamfistedness, but you can’t accuse them of not addressing a situation when it arises. While we had a strategy of evasion, the Americans just went in and addressed the problem.”
Your damn right thats how we do it. Always have and always will.
Well, unless Obama gets into office. Then we will be loved by Europe and we too can have a strategy of evasion.