Turkey Bombs N. Iraq; Unpopular British Hand over Security Control in Basra

In the far north of Iraq, Turkish warplanes bombed villages that its security specialists say were harboring terrorists of the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK). The bombing campaign is the latest in a series of actions that have brought tensions to a boil in the Kurdish-dominated north.

In Iraq’s deep south, Britain turns general control of security matters over to Iraqi officials on Sunday in Basra province. This move has little effect in itself on the British troop presence, now 5500 men stationed out at the airport. But PM Gordon Brown has pledged to reduce their numbers to only 2500 next March, and it seem likely most will be gone by the end of 2008.

A recent poll conducted in Basra has little good news in it for the British in the south.

In the poll, only 2 percent of Basra residents felt that the British miitary had had had a positive impact on the security situation in the southern port. Some 86% said that the British impact has been negative! Not suprisingly, 83% said they wanted British troops to leave Iraq altogether. The BBC adds:

‘ Two-thirds felt security would improve in the short term, while 72% said it would improve in the long term. Only 5% said security would deteriorate following the withdrawal. ‘

These number really are suggestive of a colonial experiment gone badly wrong. If the British had been in the Iraqi south as helpmeets to Iraqi authorities, as former PM Tony Blair often alleged, it is hard to imagine that the people there would be this hostile.

The US has no troops in either Basra or on the Iraqi-Turkish border, so that the US is not even centrally involved in the two big Iraq stories today.

Bombings and attacks Killed at least 11 persons in Iraq on Saturday.

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