"Iraq’s national security adviser, Mowaffaq al-Rubaie, told Reuters the investigation into the raid would focus on whether the two British men were in fact handed over to the militia group and whether they were found in an annex to the jail or a private house. Iraqi authorities admitted that insurgents had infiltrated the police and other security forces in Basra and elsewhere. "Our Iraqi security forces in general, and these in particular and in many parts of Iraq, I have to admit that they have been penetrated by some of the insurgents," Rubaie told the BBC. He said he did not know the extent of the infiltration, but said new procedures were in place to get rid of bad apples. Officials in Basra said at least 60 percent of the police force there is made up of Shiite militiamen from one of three groups: the Mehdi Army; the Badr Brigade, the armed wing of the Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq; and Hizbullah in Iraq, a small group based in the southern marshlands." Beirut Daily Star
Well, maybe the British SHOULD apologize. They were given the quietest area in Iraq. It was quiet because the Shia are waiting to see if the political struggle inspired by America’s neocon strategy will give them control of the rump state of Iraq. With Basra "in hand" the Brits set out to demonstrate the superiority of their knowledge of counter-insurgency tactics, and "how to handle Arabs." For 2 1/2 years they have laughed at the ineptitude of the "Yanks" in trying to deal with the Sunni Arab insurgencies in the north.
What is the result? They have largely lost control of Basra to various Shia militias and to the police who are heavily infiltrated by Shia militia. Today, they are resucing their presence in the city because the governor of the province warned them off. Is this a problem? You can bet your life it is.
Any competent military planner prepares to deal with the worst eventuality. The worst case here is that at some future time we will need unimpeded access to the roads that run south through Basra. Will the British regain control of this Line of Communications that runs south from Baghdad to Kut to Basra to Kuwait. Don’t bet on it. Britain has been a lukewarm political supporter of this enterprise from the beginning. Are they going to fight to regain control of Basra? Don’t bet on it.
And still we have people like Reuel Gerecht trying to make optimistic noises about this situation on TV… Well, he should. He is one of the architects of the situation. People like him are still talking about adopting the French "oil spot" counterinsurgency strategy in Iraq. My God!!
You could have done that two and a half years ago if you had been willing to accept the reality of the insurgency. You could have done that if you had accepted General Shinseki’s estimate of the troops needed for this campaign.