British troops lost the hearts and minds of the citizens of Basra in one day last September, after an apparently successful, mostly peaceful two year campaign to bring order and train police in Iraq’s third largest city.
This week, after British military police arrested two of their own, the southern province of Basra has officially cut off all relations with the British. in connection with a 2004 video.
filmed in the restive town of Amara in the Maysan province, just north of Basra, in January 2004 appeared to show defenceless young Iraqis being kicked and attacked with batons, to the apparent amusement of the cameraman.
I posted last fall on the significance of the uprisings in Basra and the evidence that the police forces were being infiltrated and commanded by a myriad of extremists and conflicted militant groups. (also here, and here ).
As Jasem al-Aqrab, head of organization of the Iraqi Islamic party in party, writes in Thursday’s Guardian, the real story is surfacing regarding the supposedly “calm” Basra region as it had been compared to the violence in the North since early 2003.