Thursday, January 11, 2007

The Iraq Escalation - serious dangers for British troops 

Right, here are some things The Shrub (aka the US President) has done as part of his ‘surge’ in Iraq:

1 part of the ‘surge’ appears to consists of US combat forces being redeployed from Afghanistan

2 Amongst the new deployments to ‘bolster the security of Iraq’ is an additional Carrier Strike group – and the deployment actually in Iraq of batteries of patriot anti-missile batteries.

3 US forces have today entered an Iranian diplomatic mission in northern Iraq and seized a quantity of documents and computers.

The implications for UK combat forces in Afghanistan and Iraq are profound.

1. Who will take on the Military responsibilities in Afghanistan previously carried out by the redeployed US forces? The British and the Canadians, by any chance?

2 Who on earth in this region – apart from Iran – has the weaponry requiring anti-missile defences? Is the USA expecting hostile actions from Iran? Is this explained by the raid outlined in point 3?

3. Britain has taken the position that insurgent activities in Iraq are not directed from Iran and has based a substantial part of its deployment in Basra on a policy of offering positive engagement with Iran. If the US violation of Iranian sovereign territory – because that is what entering a diplomatic legation is, in law – leads to direct hostile actions by Iran, then UK forces are in imminent additional peril in their current deployments.
If hostilities break out involving naval forces in the Gulf then all bets are off for British ground forces on the Iraqi coast.

We need a serious and direct question to the UK government:

a. Did they know about the increased burden in Afghanistan?
b. Did they know in advance about the sudden escalation of activities against Iranian interests and the consequent increased risks for UK forces?

If they did, why did they not try to stop it? What does this say about the judgement of HMG on these issues?
If they did not, then can we trust the current US command? It has put our own forces in new dangers. Should we not seriously consider immediate withdrawal of our forces, at least from Iraq?

Bear in mind that while the BBC is correctly identifying the violators of Iranian diplomatic properties as being United States forces, statements in the USA seem to be labelling them as ‘International Forces’. We are being set up as part of the escalation.

This is a profoundly dangerous moment.

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