Battlepanda: Oy!


Always trying to figure things out with the minimum of bullshit and the maximum of belligerence.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005


Bad news from Iraq are dime-a-dozen. But this latest snafu from Basra is just bizarre. An unruly mob managed to set two giant British tanks on fire with petrol bombs. A little bit sad that such a thing would occur in Basra, which was considered a 'bright spot' for the Brits, but not a totally unexpected course of events. The weird thing is that those tanks were on a ham-handed mission to storm an Iraqi prison/police station where two British undercover agents were held by the Iraqi police.

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All the soldiers survived with minor injuries, apparently, despite jumping from a burning tank on fire and surrounded by a wrathful mob. I wonder if they consider themselves very lucky or very unlucky.

Question. How bad exactly was the relationship between the British forces and the Iraqi authorities that they would refuse to hand over British undercover soldiers and even (the Brits feared) hand them to Shia militia? But I guess the question is kind of moot since whatever the relationship was like prior to this incident, it must be very very very very very bad now. AP reports that 150 Iraqi prisoners escaped in the melee (the Ministry of Defence denies this). Basra govenor Mohammed al-Waili called this incident a "barbaric act of aggression".