Author Topic: British troops approved to go into south baghdad subject to military approval  (Read 70 times)

Don Rizzle

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Why does america need 600 troops when they have over a hundred thousand in the the region? this all seems to help american polititions in particular republicans to stay in office. why should we move into heated areas after the americans pissed them off with their heavy handed tactics? british soldiers should stay in the sounth and never come under direct american command also whilst working in different areas of the country its makes it clearer the differences between us if we were to move into baghdad we be treated the same as americans

Straw tries to quell Iraq dissent
Foreign Secretary Jack Straw has tried to quell backbench fears that UK troops risk getting "bogged down" in Iraq if they provide back-up for US forces.
About 650 UK soldiers could be moved to the area south of Baghdad to free US troops for an assault on Falluja.

The final decision on the plan depends on advice from a UK reconnaissance team visiting the area on Thursday.

Several MPs are worried the plan could increase risks for UK troops but Mr Straw said it was right in principle.

 It is of critical importance that the insurgency is dealt with, otherwise... the elections would be flawed
Foreign Secretary Jack Straw

The chief of the defence staff is expected to recommend by the middle of this week whether to comply with the request, on the basis of advice from military commanders on the ground.

But there is growing concern among some MPs who backed the decision to go to war.

Labour's Andrew Mackinlay urged the government on Monday: "The United Kingdom has given 110% on this issue. Some of us have provided political cover and support for this government.

"I beg you not to try and stretch the envelope too much otherwise it might burst. Some of us will not stomach it."

But at a news conference with United Nations secretary-general Kofi Annan, Mr Straw said he was "sympathetic" to the US request for troops but a final decision would await the result of the reconnaissance mission."

He insisted the request had nothing to do with the US elections but was aimed at meeting the United Nations' timetable for ensuring Iraqi elections went ahead in January.

Mr Straw said he understood concerns that "mission creep" was taking place in Iraq but stressed there was no proposal to increase the number of troops or extend tours of duty,

The quicker Iraqis were able to "take full and effective control of their country", the sooner British troops could leave, Mr Straw said.

Mr Annan said he hoped any offensive in Falluja would balance efforts to quell violence in Iraq with the war to win "minds and hearts".

Apology demand

Earlier on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Mr Straw was asked about fears that British troops would be moved to an area of Iraq known as the "triangle of death", the region around the cities of Iskandariya and Latifiya.

He said it was a "myth" that the current British area of operations was trouble-free while the US region was in turmoil.

He also suggested the Liberal Democrats dare not admit their anti-war policy would have strengthened Saddam Hussein.

9,200 troops deployed to the Gulf, almost 7,500 in Iraq
1,400 of those are reservists
Most troops in Basra and al Muthanna provinces
1 Mechanised Brigade is currently 'lead formation'
6,315 troops from 10 nations also serve in the area

His comments provoked a furious demand for an apology from Lib Dem leader Charles Kennedy, who said they had insulted the millions of people who had opposed the conflict.

Conservative leader Michael Howard said his party would support the troop redeployment, if there was a "compelling justification".

But he said MPs had still not been told why Britain's only reserve force needed to be moved from southern Iraq when there were so many US troops in the country.

"We do not have a reserve force in southern Iraq for fun, it's there for a purpose," he told Today.

Tactics worries

On Monday, Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon told MPs there was a "very clear operational justification" for the American request.

Major Charles Heyman, a counter-insurgency expert, said it was believed the British forces could be used to shore up supply lines for US troops.

A battalion from the Black Watch regiment is believed to have been earmarked for the move.

Its soldiers had been scheduled to return home next month but could now remain until the end of the year.

Nearly 7,500 British troops are currently serving in southern Iraq, based mainly around the port of Basra.

Sandy Caird, the father of one soldier, said families were concerned at the prospect of British troops having to adopt "American" tactics.

He said: "They go in with full force. They don't seem to think things out on the ground the same as what we do."

Story from BBC NEWS:

iraq would just get annexed by iran

That would be a great solution.  If Iran and the majority of Iraqi's are pleased with it, then why shouldn't they do it?