26 June 2006
More problems for the British in Iraq
Since a spate of bomb attacks against them last autumn, British forces have largely kept out of the centre of Basra. Much of the police force in the south has been taken over by Shia militias who often clash with one another as well as intimidating ordinary people and attacking what is left of the Sunni community in the south.
Aside from this, the Iraqis seem to have developed a powerful and accurate anti-vehicle mine that can destroy the British army's Land Rovers. It can also seriously damage tanks, but its effect on the Land Rovers that the British are shipping into Iraq from Northern Ireland is terrifying.
The British have about 8,000 troops in Southern Iraq. It must be debatable how long they could stand against a determined push by the Iraqi forces.