Top British Gen. Sir Richard Dannatt says that British troops are overstretched by their missions in Iraq and Afghanistan and are suffering from “Iraq fatigue.” He warned that the covenant of trust between the enlisted men and the officers was in danger of being broken. Dannatt insisted that troops need recuperation time between missions but admitted that it will be hard to arrange.
The British have moved outside of Basra and have drawn down their troops substantially, so that they will be down to only 2500 by next March.
Although certain kinds of violence have declined in Basra since the British withdrew to the airport (e.g. mortar fire at British positions downtown or roadside bombs), other violence has spiked, and there has been a wave of assassinations since mid-summer, as well as turf wars between militias.
The new government in Poland is now saying that it will have its troops out of Iraq by the end of 2008. Poland has 900 troops in Iraq, in the Shiite province of Diwaniya southeast of Baghdad. Diwaniya has seen signficant fighting between the Shiite Badr Corps, the paramilitary of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq, and the Mahdi Army of Muqtada al-Sadr. (Many Badr Corps elements are in the provincial police force).
Meanwhile, in Australia, Professor Hugh White, the head of Canberra’s Strategic and Defence Studies Centre, says that the US cannot win the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. He points out that the US is just not likely to put the sort of resources into either country that would be needed to make a difference, and that the public’s patience for long-term social engineering has run out already.
35 decomposed bodies were found in Baghdad on Saturday, remains of Iraqis killed in sectarian violence 7 months ago.
Reuters reports political violence in Iraq on Saturday:
‘ Nov 18 (Reuters) – Following are security developments in Iraq at 0600 GMT on Sunday.
BAGHDAD – Four bodies were found in different districts of Baghdad on Saturday, police said.
MOSUL – Five bodies, including that of a police captain, were found dumped in different areas of Mosul, 390 km (240 miles) north of Baghdad, on Saturday, police said.
BAGHDAD – A roadside bomb wounded two people in Ameen district of southeastern Baghdad, police said.
BAGHDAD – A roadside bomb hit a police commandos patrol near al-Tayaran Square in central Baghdad on Saturday, wounding two policemen, police said.
BAGHDAD – U.S. helicopters killed two men planting a roadside bomb south of Baghdad on Friday, the U.S. military said.
BAGHDAD – A roadside bomb wounded two people in Kesra neighbourhood in northern Baghdad, police said.
RUSTUMIYA – Several rockets or mortar rounds landed in Rustumiya neighbourhood in southeastern Baghdad but caused no casualties, police said. ‘
McClatchy adds more:
– Friday night, a roadside bomb targeted an oil well ( No.64 ) on the way of Kirkuk –Dibis which lies about 3 km behind ( Hineijara ) oil site ( south of Kirkuk ). No casualties or damage recorded.
– Friday night, a roadside bomb targeted the Khanaqeen brigade commander’s convoy ( general brigadier ) Hama Khan Haji Dara when it was over the third bridge in Kirkuk city . No casualties recorded,but one vehicle damaged.
– Friday night, a police patrol found a roadside bomb at Qasab Khana near the law college downtown Kirkuk defusing it .Meanwhile , another roadside exploded at the front gate of the college . No casualties recorded on both incidents.
– Today , gunmen attacked members of the 1920th revolution battalion at Abdul Hameed village in Diyala ( 5 km north of Baquba )injuring two men from the battalion.
– Saturday afternoon, gunmen executed five civilians in front of the public in Mosul Al-Jadeda (New Mosul ) west of the city . . . ‘ (This is in addition to the bodies found in the street).