At least 16 people have been killed and 20 injured in a car bomb attack in the southern Iraqi city of Basra.
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The attack follows the killing of four US security guards and two British soldiers in separate incidents near Basra earlier this week.
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A BBC correspondent in Baghdad, Jon Brain, says the increase in violence in southern Iraq, which is under British control, suggests the insurgents are beginning to gain a foothold in the area, which has been relatively peaceful.
This is quite a logical development, since it is becoming more difficult to stage attacks in the western Sunni provinces. The real questions that need to be asked though are why have British forces been so complacent? It seems likely there is a political component to this, with the Government trying to keep Iraq off the political radar screen, because of the venture's unpopularity. After all, this is not actually the first warning sign that our zone in southern Iraq is all it's cracked up to be
. As I complained at greater length on a general posting on British concerns on Iraq
, I still think the media make a lousy job of reporting what our own forces are doing. To that I would also add the politicians that are supposed to hold the Government to account. Parliament and particularly the Conservatives should be pressurizing the Government about deploying adequate forces to succeed in Iraq. It is no good to complain that it was a bad idea to go into Iraq, we’re there now and we need to finish the job properly too. This should be natural Tory territory, but so far I see far too little effort.
Labels: defence, Iraq, media, politics