Brits bow out of Basra – MoneyWeek

HesaidthereisnowarealpossibilitytheShiaswilltrytoformabreakawaynationintheoil-richsouth,leadingtopossibleethniccleansingandhugelyincreasingtheinfluenceofneighbouringIran。

Weshouldn’tbetoopessimistic,saidTheTimes。

Basrahasbeen“unusuallyquiet”sinceMonday。

Policesaidtherehavebeennokillingsorkidnappings,securityforcesareoutinforce,andtheIraqipoliceandArmy,whonormallysteerclearofeachother,aremanningjointcheckpoints。

LeavingthefateofIraqasideforonemoment,the“bungledinvasion”hasdone“lastingdamage”tothe‘specialrelationship’betweentheUSandBritain,saidTheIndependent。

The“unseemlyblamegame”hasalreadybegun,withGeneralSirMikeJacksonandretiredMajorGeneralTimCrosssayingthatthefailureofthecoalitiontoengageinreconstructionimmediatelyaftertheinvasionisresponsibleformostofthehorrorsthathaveensued。

ButconvenientasitisfortheBritish,aswe“scuttle”outofBasra,toclaimthathadourwiseadvicebeenlistenedtowecouldhavesavedtheday,the“sadreality”isthattheBritishhavenotdonesobrilliantlyonourpatcheither。

Asthingsstand,theUSclaimstobe“comfortable”withthisweek’sevents,butitisclearthatcompletewithdrawal“wouldberegardedinWashingtonaslittleshortofbetrayal”,saidMartinFletcherinTheTimes。

OnTuesday,itwasrevealedthattheUShasdrawnupcontingencyplanstosendAmericantroopstoBasrainsuchaneventuality,butitisclearlythelastthingthatitwantstodo。

Ofcourseitis,saysFreedland。

This“desperatelyunpopular”warhascost3,700soldierstheirlivesandcosttheUS£5bnaweek。

TherearesignsthatBushiseagertomakeamendswiththeAmericanpeoplebypromisinglessofit:onasurprisevisittoIraqthisweek,he“droppedapointedhint”,sayingthatgreaterlocalcooperationinfightingal-QaidacouldmeanfewerAmericanforceswouldbeneeded。

Anditcouldbeenoughto“pacifyafewwobblyRepublicans”。

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