Iraq Invader Occupiers: What Coalition? Willing Or Otherwise ...
Iraq war wise, that is.
See below for some snips from Sunday edition shown above.
Senior military commanders have told the Government that Britain can achieve "nothing more" in south-east Iraq, and that the 5,500 British troops still deployed there should move towards withdrawal without further delay.(snip)
Two generals told The Independent on Sunday last week that the military advice given to the Prime Minister was, "We've done what we can in the south [of Iraq]". Commanders want to hand over Basra Palace – where 500 British troops are subjected to up to 60 rocket and mortar strikes a day, and resupply convoys have been described as "nightly suicide missions" – by the end of August.Tensions? Tut-tut. Who would ever have thought it, eh?
Before the invasion in 2003, officers were told that the Army's war aims were to bring stability and democracy to Iraq and to the Middle East as a whole. Those ambitions have been drastically revised, the IoS understands. The priorities now are an orderly withdrawal, with the reputation and capability of the Army "reasonably intact", and for Britain to remain a "credible ally".
The final phrase appears to refer to tensions with the US, which has more troops in Iraq than at any other time, including the invasion, as it seeks to impose order in Baghdad and neighbouring provinces.
American criticism of Britain's desire to pull back in southern Iraq has recently become public, with a US intelligence official telling The Washington Post this month that "the British have basically been defeated in the south".(snip)
A senior British commander countered, "That's to miss the point. It was never that kind of battle, in which we set out to defeat an enemy."
Immediate American discontent is said to centre on the CIA's reluctance to leave Basra Palace, an important base for watching Iran, which may explain why Britain has held on to the complex until now.
But last week it was reported that US intelligence operatives were in the process of pulling out.
The UK and US 'Special Relationship'?
Further ahead, the US is concerned over the security of its vital supply line from Kuwait, with some American commanders saying that if the British withdraw, American troops will have to be sent south to replace them.
It sounds to us that it's more a case of a (bloody well and truly), 'broken down' relationship -- and that's putting it mildly.
Here's today's Independent's relevant report in it's entirety.