20 August 2007
Britain to leave Iraq, but continue the fight in Afghanistan.
The war of words between Britain and the USA seems to be heating up. As reported earlier this month, the Americans are now blaming the British for having lost Basra. The aim, obviously, is to shame the British into remaining in Iraq and continuing to die. Thankfully, the wheeze seems to have backfired, with the British pointing out that over 90% of the attacks in Basra are aimed at them. In other words it is not about Britain holding the ring between warring factions, rather it is about all those factions uniting behind a single desire which is to end the occupation of southern Iraq.
The army for its part has now told the government that "nothing more" can be done in Iraq, and the view of the General Staff is that the army should be withdrawn as quickly as possible.
The problem is that the aim seems to be to keep the Americans sweet by boosting troop numbers in Afghanistan to almost 8,000 by the end of the year. The problem here is that the government is concealing the heavy casualties that British troops are suffering in that country. Over 700 have been wounded since April, and that figure can be expected to climb when the new fighting season opens in the spring of next year.
To make matters worse for the warmongers, the British are winning all the tactical victories on the ground, but are losing the war strategically. The Afghans have the numbers and have proved themselves more than adept at fighting off foreign invaders over the past few centuries.
They are receiving help from all over the Muslim world. Reports are coming in of Chechens, Pakistanis and even men from Birmingham, England, streaming over the border from Pakistan to join the fight. British officers may talk about a 38 year conflict, just like the one in Northern Ireland, but whether Britain's economy or political will could stand that strain is open to question.
The warmongers will claim that this is proof that the war is winnable, because Afghanistan is like a flypaper, they will say, and attracts Jihadists from all over the world. The problem with this argument is that there is no evidence that they will stay permanently in that benighted country. The survivors could return home to start further conflicts, and open new fronts on other countries. Furthermore, all they are doing is helping the Afghans - they have not taken over the war from them. Put another way, the foreign fighters may have shortened the war against imperialism in Afghanistan, but there is no evidence to suggest that it would be lost if they all went home tomorrow.
It looks as if America's ever loyal poodle is about to skip out of the frying pan and straight into the fire.