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NEWS
August 15, 2007
The British have substantially pulled back their military operations in southern Iraq, and now the area around the city of Basra is being violently contested by several Iraqi factions - all of them Shiite - and an overlapping group of criminal gangs. British bases are taking increasingly potent mortar fire. It's starting to look like a mission that has failed. For all the talk of progress after the U.S. troop surge in Baghdad, and the emergency reconciliation summit called this week by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, there's no particular reason to believe that the British experience in the south is anything but a foretaste of Iraq's future.
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NEWS
By Adil E. Shamoo and Bonnie Bricker | February 10, 2009
The recent provincial elections in Iraq confirmed the national identity of the Iraqi people. Voting overwhelmingly for nationalist candidates, Iraqis voted to keep Iraq together as one - an outcome that defies the predictions of many. Myths and distortions about Iraq's history have been used to promote arguments for a divided Iraq. Peter Galbraith, in an October op-ed in The New York Times, claimed that Iraq has an "absence of a shared identity ... [and] there was never shared national identity."
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NEWS
By Todd Richissin and Todd Richissin,Sun foreign reporter | September 21, 2005
LONDON -- Britain was reminded yesterday that it was in a war in Iraq, the fighting arriving in TV broadcasts and newspaper front pages, showing a British soldier engulfed in flames pulling himself out of his tank in the southern city of Basra. As American officials announced that insurgents had killed 10 American troops and security officers in attacks across Iraq since Friday, the British found themselves consumed in Basra, which had been one of the most stable parts of the country. On Monday British soldiers there fought not insurgents but Iraqi police whom the British had helped train.
NEWS
By Peter Spiegel and Julian E. Barnes and Peter Spiegel and Julian E. Barnes,LOS ANGELES TIMES | May 23, 2008
WASHINGTON - Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, the U.S. commander in Iraq, gave Congress a markedly more upbeat assessment of the war yesterday than he did just six weeks ago, saying violence has hit a four-year low and further troop reductions are likely in the fall. Qualifying his assessment, Petraeus said the additional troop withdrawals may be small, potentially less than a full 3,500-soldier combat brigade. He also said that political goals continue to lag, noting that Iraqi provincial elections scheduled for October will be postponed by at least a month.
NEWS
By SOLOMON MOORE and SOLOMON MOORE,LOS ANGELES TIMES | June 1, 2006
BAGHDAD, Iraq -- Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki declared a state of emergency yesterday in the southern oil hub of Basra and said he would deploy an Iraqi army division to quell violence in the nation's second-largest city. A predominantly Shiite Muslim seaport with a Sunni Arab minority, Basra has for more than a year suffered assassinations, attacks and counterattacks by militia and religious groups vying for power. Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Hashimi, who accompanied al-Maliki to Basra yesterday, said Shiite militias had begun attacking one another.
NEWS
By Doug Struck and Doug Struck,Sun Staff Correspondent | March 4, 1991
IN SOUTHERN IRAQ -- Refugees walking south from Basra said yesterday that demonstrations against Iraqi President Saddam Hussein were rocking the war-damaged city.The refugees made up a thin line of misery as they left the city, Iraq's second-largest and its only port, and walked along the desert road toward Kuwait, 30 miles away. Few had possessions other than a bottle of water; some stumbled and seemed about to fall.They said thousands of people were marching in demonstrations that began yesterday against Mr. Hussein and had clashed with army members still loyal to the Iraqi leader.
NEWS
By Ned Parker and Ned Parker,Los Angeles Times | September 6, 2007
BAGHDAD, Iraq -- British troops handed over their last base inside the southern city of Basra yesterday, leaving it to local Shiite Muslim political parties and militias whose power struggles often have spilled over into violence. The British troops, who withdrew to an airport outside the city, were hoping their exit from Iraq's second-largest city would let Iraqi authorities take charge and resolve simmering conflicts. But Iraqi civilians and analysts warned that Basra had become a symbol of Shiite infighting and corruption centered on the region's lucrative oil fields, which account for the majority of Iraq's estimated 1.5 million barrels of oil exported daily.
NEWS
By LOS ANGELES TIMES | August 4, 2005
BAGHDAD, Iraq - Journalist Steven Vincent collected facts for his stories from the streets of Basra, not from official statements. But he knew that the streets of Iraq's second-largest city were becoming increasingly unsafe for him. "This is not the easygoing municipality of 1.5 million people I recall," he wrote in a June 9 article for the National Review Online. "For one thing, I can no longer wander the streets, take a cab, or dine in restaurants for fear of being spotted as a foreigner: Kidnapping, by criminal gangs or terrorists, remains a lucrative business."
NEWS
By New York Times News Service. | March 28, 2008
Baghdad -- In direct confrontation with the American-backed government in Iraq, thousands of supporters of the powerful Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr and his Mahdi Army militia took to the streets of Baghdad yesterday to protest the Iraqi army's assault on the southern port city of Basra, as intense fighting continued there for a third day. In Basra, there seemed to be no breakthrough in the fighting by either side. As much as half of the city remained under militia control, hospitals in some parts of the city were reported full, and the violence continued to spread.
NEWS
By Molly Hennessy-Fiske and Molly Hennessy-Fiske,LOS ANGELES TIMES | December 9, 2006
Baghdad, Iraq -- As many as 1,000 British and Danish troops staged a major raid yesterday in Basra, Iraq's second-largest city, detaining five tribal leaders with ties to Shiite militias, British officials said. The operation was the largest in Basra in the three years since the U.S.-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein's government, according to Maj. Charlie Burbridge, a spokesman for the British forces in Basra. The move was part of the continued effort by the British, who have security control in Basra, to suppress continued fighting among Shiite groups and rival tribes in the region.
NEWS
By Los Angeles Times | April 15, 2008
BAGHDAD -- For more than two months, British journalist Richard Butler sat with a hood over his head wondering what his kidnappers in Basra were planning. Yesterday, gunshots rang through the house where he was held. There were shouts. The door to his room burst open, and Butler tore off his hood to see Iraqi army soldiers. They were as surprised to see Butler as he was to see them, according to Iraqi military officials, who described yesterday's rescue of the freelancer, under contract with CBS News, as a lucky find during a search of a house for illegal weapons.
NEWS
By New York Times News Service | April 4, 2008
BAGHDAD -- More than 1,000 Iraqi soldiers and policemen either refused to fight or simply abandoned their posts during the inconclusive assault against Shiite militias in Basra last week, a senior Iraqi government official said yesterday. Iraqi military officials said the group included dozens of officers, including at least two senior field commanders in the battle. The desertions in the heat of a major battle cast fresh doubt on the effectiveness of the U.S.-trained Iraqi security forces.
NEWS
By Tina Susman and Tina Susman,Los Angeles Times | March 29, 2008
BAGHDAD -- As U.S. forces plunged deeper into the bloody showdown between Iraqi security forces and Shiite militiamen, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki extended a deadline yesterday for fighters to disarm after nobody responded to his first one. The United States military said a Navy jet had strafed a mortar-launching position in the southern city of Basra with 20-mm cannon fire Thursday night, killing three "criminal militia members." It was the first time U.S. forces had been directly involved in the combat in Basra since al-Maliki launched an offensive against militias there on Tuesday.
NEWS
By New York Times News Service. | March 28, 2008
Baghdad -- In direct confrontation with the American-backed government in Iraq, thousands of supporters of the powerful Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr and his Mahdi Army militia took to the streets of Baghdad yesterday to protest the Iraqi army's assault on the southern port city of Basra, as intense fighting continued there for a third day. In Basra, there seemed to be no breakthrough in the fighting by either side. As much as half of the city remained under militia control, hospitals in some parts of the city were reported full, and the violence continued to spread.
NEWS
By New York Times News Service | March 27, 2008
BAGHDAD -- An assault by thousands of Iraqi soldiers and police officers to regain control of the southern port city of Basra stalled yesterday as Shiite militiamen in the Mahdi Army fought daylong hit-and-run battles and refused to withdraw from the neighborhoods that form their base of power there. American officials have presented the Iraqi army's attempts to secure the port city as an example of its ability to carry out a major operation against the insurgency on its own. A failure there would be a serious embarrassment for the Iraqi government and for the army, as well as for American forces eager to demonstrate that the Iraqi units they have trained can fight effectively on their own. During a briefing in Baghdad yesterday, a British military official said that of the nearly 30,000 Iraqi security forces involved in the assault, almost 16,000 were Basra police forces, which have long been suspected of being infiltrated by the same militias the assault was intended to root out. The operation is a significant political test for Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who traveled to Basra to oversee the beginning of the assault.
NEWS
By Alexandra Zavis and Alexandra Zavis,LOS ANGELES TIMES | March 26, 2008
BAGHDAD -- Tensions between Iraq's major Shiite Muslim factions erupted into violence yesterday as Iraqi security forces launched a major crackdown against militiamen in the southern oil hub of Basra. The fighting, which Iraqi officials said killed at least 35 people and injured 100, was the most serious sign yet that a cease-fire credited with helping improve security nationwide might be unraveling as sections of the Shiite Muslim majority jockey for position ahead of provincial elections.
NEWS
By RAHEEM SALMAN AND BORZOU DARAGAHI and RAHEEM SALMAN AND BORZOU DARAGAHI,LOS ANGELES TIMES | July 5, 2006
BASRA, Iraq -- This once-placid port city is looking a lot like the mob-ruled Chicago of the 1920s, an arena for settling scores between rival gangs, many with ties to the highest echelons of local and national political power. Basra's sudden political troubles and violence are rooted in a bloody competition for control of millions of dollars in smuggled oil, residents and officials say. On the Shatt al Arab waterway and off the coast of the Persian Gulf, boats wait to receive Iraq's smuggled oil, the most visible sign of what many suspect are vast multinational criminal gangs selling subsidized and stolen petroleum products for a premium in Iran, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates.
NEWS
By Alexandra Zavis | February 13, 2008
BAGHDAD -- The bullet-riddled body of an Iraqi newspaper reporter was recovered yesterday in Baghdad, as police in Basra launched an intensive search for a Western journalist working for CBS News and his Iraqi translator. Journalists have been frequent targets in Iraq, which the Paris-based Reporters Without Borders said remains the world's most deadly country for news media workers despite recent security gains. The slain Iraqi journalist was identified as Hisham Muchawat Hamdan, 27, a member of Iraq's Young Journalists' League who reported for three local newspapers.
NEWS
By Ann M. Simmons and Ann M. Simmons,LOS ANGELES TIMES | December 17, 2007
BASRA, Iraq -- During a low-key ceremony yesterday, Britain formally handed over control of security responsibility for Basra province to Iraqi authorities, marking a significant step toward Iraqi sovereignty. "This day is a big day in the history of Basra and the history of Iraq," Iraq's national security adviser, Mouwafak al-Rubai,e told a group of at least 100 dignitaries and other guests gathered in the arrival lounge at the Basra airport. "It is a huge test for the Basraris to be in charge ... to determine their own fate and to rebuild the city."
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