Monday, September 19, 2005

What IS that smell?

Better and better.

Sure you expect fighting between Kurds, Sunnis and Shi'ites. You expect attacks on American forces by Ba'athists and foreign insurgents. But you know things are really getting ugly in Iraq when fighting breaks out between the Brits and Iraqi police:

BASRA, Iraq, Sept. 19 -- Heavy clashes erupted Monday between Iraqi police and British soldiers based in Basra, Iraq's second-largest city, witnesses said.

The clashes are the latest in surging tensions in Basra, a Shiite-dominated city that had long been one of Iraq's calmest. Attacks have targeted Britons and Americans there.

Monday's clashes stemmed from the arrest by Iraqi police on Sunday of two British soldiers, whom Iraqi police accused of planting bombs. Iraqi officials described the two as undercover soldiers dressed in civilian clothes and said a shooting incident broke out when police stopped their civilian vehicle.

A 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.

And Basra, as the story notes, is one of Iraq's "calmest", a veritable Shangri-La of peace amidst the hellhole we've created their.

I have no idea what to make of the whys and hows of the conflict between the Brits and the police, the information, other than from "official" sources is increasingly spotty, and understandably so:
In a separate development in Basra, an Iraqi working as a local reporter in Basra for the New York Times was found dead Monday after being kidnapped by masked men, sources close to his family said. Fakher Haider was found with his hands bound and a single gunshot wound to the head hours after having been seized at his home by four men who took him away in handcuffs, telling the family they wanted to interrogate him. The masked men did not identify themselves as police, the sources said.

The killing came a month after an American freelance journalist, Steven Vincent, was kidnapped and killed in Basra. He was working on a book about the city and had written an opinion piece for the New York Times in which he criticized Basra's security forces.

Gosh, no wonder, as Karl Rove observed, [w]e have not been good at explaining the success in Iraq, they keep killing the reporters.

Anyway, things are pretty bad when the locals are getting tired of even the British. My guess is that, after a few years even polite occupiers begin to annoy those being occupied a teensy-weensy bit.

As Ben Franklin observed: Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days.

And if your guests are armed, and it's been years? That's some damn stinky fish.

1 comment:

T.L. Stanley said...

This is an interestnig story. Unfortunately, we and the British are still in Iraq. I am highly critical of the Bush administration's management of the Iraqi War. On the other hand, America and Britain are giving Iraq a gift they will not see in their lifetime. Namely, a chance to form a more perfect union and live in relative peace.

I criticize the occupation and our attempt at "Nation Building" in Iraq and other places, because the costs to American troops is too high. Regardless, I predict that the Iraqi people will suffer greatly when we leave.

The Iraq people should move quickly to form a workable government now. If they do not take advantage of this opportunity now, their future as a stable nation is in doubt.