I have just finished reading Murder in Samarkand by Craig Murray, former British ambassador who refused to lie for or to his country. The author’s account of torture and oppression in Uzbekistan , sustained and supported by the USA, his denunciation of the regime of President Karimov and the attempts of the FCO to silence him has moved me to rage and tears. I urge everyone to read it. The Uzbek government is terrible, the American connivance is awful and the attitude of the Blair government, of Jack Straw and of the mandarins who manage our country’s foreign policy is despicable.
Juan Cole’s Informed Comment is probably my favourite blog. I had the privilege to meet Juan over dinner last year. I have a healthy regard for my own powers of reasoning, but I came away from meeting Juan with the thought: “Wow! I wish I was as smart as him”.
So it is perhaps strange that (I think) this is the first time I have linked to his blog, and it’s to a piece not by him but that somebody has sent him. It seems to me such a good prognosis of the military situation in Iraq I thought it was worth calling your attention to it.
Saturday, May 05, 2007
Guest Comment: Iraq Prognosis
A canny Vietnam veteran wrote me the below but requested that it be posted without attribution. I thought it well worth sharing.
As I see it, these are some of the things we can expect in the next seven months in Iraq:
1. The last of the “surge” forces (American), will arrive by mid June;
2. About 1400 British soldiers, well trained and adept at urban conflict, will leave the South of Iraq. As one can see by reviewing icasualties.org’s latest listings, 13 (at least), British and/or Polish troops stationed in the South have been killed, almost all by hostile fire. Ths is a increase in British hostile fire losses, and comes when the prospect of Iraqi or American troops entering the fray in the south would pose a dilution of the surge forces. No Americans have really ever been stationed in the south of Iraq, among predominantly Shia populations. The methodology the UK forces have used has been learned in Northern Ireland, and is much more sophisticated than any approach Americans have used. As a result, units which may have been in Iraq previously, but are now peopled by a fair number of new grunts, will cut their teeth in the southern Iraq. Because of much more heavy handed approaches, lack of sophisticated skills in urban war, and an increase in various Shia militia more radical than Moqtada al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army, the Americans will cause one incident of cause cel’bre in the South;
Continue reading here: http://www.juancole.com:80/2007/05/guest-comment-iraq-prognosis-canny.html