Tuesday September 4, 2007
".......British forces left Basra Palace yesterday, where 500 of their men had been living under daily siege, in a more sober mood. The city they liberated four years ago from Saddam's dictatorship was relatively liberal, cosmopolitan and rich. The city they left yesterday is a battleground between three Shia factions and their militias. The Fadhila controls the Oil Protection Force, the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council dominates the intelligence service and police commando units, and the Mahdi army has infiltrated local police and the port authority......
....Military commanders argue that as 90% of the attacks are targeted at British troops, their withdrawal to Basra airport will remove the incentive for the militias and Iran to carry on fighting. But if commanders now accept that the occupation is one of the sources of the conflict, not its solution, the troops should be removed altogether......."