But can they hold it?

Iraq to Take Basra in 2 Months

Iraq announces a timetable to take formal control of Basra province.

Despite ongoing tensions between rival Shiite factions in Basra, the city had avoided the chaos some predicted would ensue after British troops left their last city center base, the official said.

Britain’s defense ministry said rocket and mortar attacks on their base at Basra airport had fallen sharply in the last month, with only a few attempted strikes.

But Karim al-Miahi, the head of the Basra security committee and a member in the provincial council said, “The withdrawal of the British forces has had a negative effect on security in the city. Iraqi forces still are not able to control the situation which has deteriorated over the past three weeks. There has been an increase in assassinations of police and religious leaders. As for the areas around the British base, the situation is more stable. Shelling there has stopped.”


  1. That is why the ISF is diverting major assets from Baghdad, Anbar and north… ISOF: This summer the Baghdad HSC, Al Asad, Basrah and Mosul Cos were formed but, They were combined and sent as an I SOF Bn(-) to assist in Basrah security. IA New Divisions: – No apparent stand up of 11th IAD beyond 1-11 Bde (Baghdad). – Diversion of 12th assets (Salahadin) to form 14th (Basrah) this year. – Diversion of 1/3rd of ISOF to Basrah and accelerated formation of Basrah Bn. – Diversion of 1/3rd of IA’s total current Heavy Armor to 14th (3-9 Bde) from Baghdad. – Diversion of 1/3rd of IA’s current C1 brigades to 14th (3-8 Bde) from Wassit. – Diversion of 20-25% of IA’s current Motorized Bdes to Basrah – Removal of 1-10 Bde from Basrah (militia problems?). – Reporting of another U/I Bde to Basrah that indicates an operational Bde vice new formed. – Formation of new 5-10 Bde in Apr (would not be surprised to see swapped like 1-10). The PM appears to have decided to go hard vs JAM during the summer. This is a major diversion of some of the IA’s best and heaviest formations to Basrah. From hot zones. 12th HQ was to form in Salahadin and 11th in Baghdad. 3-9 Tank came from SW Baghdad. Elite 3-8 from Wasit. Two of the ISOF Cos came from Anbar/Ninawa. The entire 14th is to be motorized or Armor at start. The majority of 14th is to be experienced Bdes from out of area. 14th was not due to stand up until in 08, now it is by end-year. Also, MoD thinks 1-10 needs re-bluing. Militia influence. Still looking for IDs of any other elements going to Basrah. Basrah – Formation of Basrah Operational Command under a 4-star General. – UK appearance of bailing out. – JAM build up in Basrah. – Primary oil export route. This is a Group/Corps command for a 4-star. Indicates that the southern sector is to be increased significantly in strength. (Baghdad Opperational Command is only a LTG commanding.) It indicates that the GoI is seriously worried about JAM and Basrah. GoI is realacating significant assets to target JAM from the northern insergency. Either and/or a show of force/heavy ops vs JAM and criminals in Basrah and south. GoI expects UK to bail out soon, probably July. So does MNF-I. Visit to UK by General P was probably to try to convince UK to stay active and in Bde strength to end-08 so as to facilitate IA stand up. Everything I see indicates a significant shift in emphasis by ISF to south. Sends a major signal to Sadr…

  2. Why would the militias attack the Brits? – they have already surrendered. The militas will fight each other until one of them wins or the Iraqi and / or American Army steps in with serious force.

  3. I can understand the PM identifying the need to control Basrah Province. The Shia Militias have succeeded in pushing out the Brits. Now efforts must be underway to consolidate power, especially as US overtures toward Sunnis in the north represent a clear threat to the elevated status gained by the Shias, from electoral processes and past favored relationship with US. Basrah is the provincial capitol of the Shias. Its relative control is paramount for any eventual Shia dominion over the country. But bear in mind, relative stability is subject to many, competing factors as well as differences in perspective, both US and Iraqi.

  4. Put a call out to President Sarkozy. Maybe he’ll send in a few divisions to take up the slack that the Limeys have created. Since PM Blair resigned the Brits have become pussified.

  5. Nicholas – You can blame the Brit politicians for not sending enough troops and not supplying them with decent equipment. While the Brit troops there would fight like hell when allowed, their leaders were unwilling, and by the end, unable to control Basara or stop the attacks on their own people. They just pulled out of the city, holed up in their desert bases and gave up. Pathetic.