Sunday, September 2, 2007

Leaving Basra

Steve Taylor make an interesting point about the handover of Basra by the British:

Once the British have left Basra completely, then we will start to get a good idea of what the medium-term prospects are for the are, as we won’t be guessing what might happen when troops leave, we’ll see it. At the moment, the advance indications aren’t necessarily all that positive (see here).

Given the the British zone has long been touted as a calm and safe place (and one that is predominantly Shiite), one would think that all would be well once the British fully withdraw. I suppose we shall see. Hopefully all will go well, but if it doesn’t, it will not bode well for other areas of the country that had been less calm over time and are more heterogeneous.

That might be wishful thinking:

However, US military planners have very real anxieties about the security of southern Iraq. Though the area, which is overwhelmingly Shia, has been far less volatile than the Sunni triangle around Baghdad under American control, it has seen increasingly fierce factional fighting between Shia groups. The fear is that if the British leave behind any semblance of a vacuum, the violence will escalate.

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