Breaking: Brits, Japs and Aussies to cut and run from Iraq?
Gatenby, Possum News Network
16 June 2006
Today, the Japanese agency Kyodo News
reported that British, Australian and Japanese troops will
transfer security responsibilities in southern Iraq to Iraqi authorities
next week, and withdraw from the area soon afterward.
anonymous Coalition sources the agency report indicated that, following
a meeting of the three countries in London last week, a rapid pullout
would be announced early next week. Significantly, it appears that the
US government was not consulted on the decision.
By Iraqi authorities the agency means Shiite militias and
police predominantly influenced by Iran but thinly-disguised as Iraqi
puppet government organizations.
If true, the move would confirm recent indications of a deep split within
the Coalition of the Willing and a sudden collapse of Western support
for George Bushs Iraq crusade. It would be a huge blow to US prestige
and would leave US troops isolated in Baghdad and the Iraqi resistance-dominated
The move would further isolate Italian and Polish troops and almost
certainly precipitate their concurrent withdrawal. Evidently, neither
country was consulted on the British-Australian-Japanese decision.
In fact, the Coalition forces based in the south long ago surrendered
the streets to the Shiite militias the pro-Iranian units of the
Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq and Muqtada al-Sadrs
Mehdi Army. For the past two years, the Coalition forces in the south
have maintained a relative peace, compared with the rest of Iraq, only
through an accommodation with these forces.
Responsible observers have long warned that Coalition units in the south
were in a militarily
untenable position. In recent weeks the Shiite militias have, probably
at Tehrans instigation, launched several guerrilla attacks to
remind the Coalition that their security depends entirely on Iranian
Of recent weeks there have been increasing indications of a split in
the Coalition. Australian prime minister John Howard, who committed
only a token force to Iraq and ensured that his troops were located
in the safest possible zone, pointedly
announced his unwillingness to become involved in American plans for
a war against Iran shortly before his recent Washington visit. Opportunistically,
Howard used (and probably encouraged) disturbances in East Timor to
insulate himself from demands by George Bush for a further troop commitment
to Iraq. Tony Blairs recent visit to the American president was
accompanied by indications of a reluctance to commit further forces
to Iraq or to underwrite a US war against Iran.
A precipitate withdrawal by Coalition forces in Iraqs south would
concede the area to a variety of Iraqi partisan groups and leave the
vital strategic land route from Kuwait and the port of Basra exposed
to harassment and interdiction. This would necessitate the US diverting
significant military resources to protect the route. Without the Basra-Baghdad
highway and railway, the US occupation forces would be almost totally
dependent on airlift capability to sustain operations, placing them
in an increasingly