Iraqi general claims UK troops allowed insurgents to rule Basra

November 22nd, 2008 - 5:05 pm ICT by ANI  

Basra (Iraq), Nov.22 (ANI): A senior Iraqi major general has accused Britain of allowing insurgents to rule Basra city for five years “without being punished or held to account”. In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, Major General Mohammed Jawad Humeidi said it was too soon for UK forces to be pulled out of Basra and called for the Americans to step in. He also criticized the lack of support from British forces during the early days of the decisive Charge of Knights operation when the Iraqi army defeated Basra’’s Jaish al Mahdi (JAM) insurgents. Humeidi said he would be content to see the British replaced by American troops when they withdraw from southern Iraq in the coming months. In an interview at the newly opened Basra Operations Centre from which the Iraqi army and police will control the city, Humeidi had little praise for the British presence in Basra since 2003.
The general reinforced the view held by some American officers that the British dithered over taking action at the start of the battle for Basra.
Asked if the British effort that saw the loss of 178 British lives had held the line against complete anarchy descending on Basra the general said: “You could say that, possibly.”
Humeidi argued that there was still a need for coalition forces in Basra “be they British or American”. (ANI)

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