does Britain and co. flee Iraq before USA attack Iran?

Britain and Denmark have decided to withdraw their troops within months, meanwhile the US are sending warships to the Persian gulf. Are they fleeing before a war between USA and Iran burst out?

Any thoughts about this ?

I think the more likely motivation is that there’s a strong anti-war movement in Denmark and the UK, just as there is in the US, and because both Denmark and the UK are parliamentary systems, the government is more vulnerable to public pressure than in the US, where the President can carry on military policy with more independence from the legislature and the public will.

I’d love to be a fly on the wall in Blair’s cabinet meetings.

Yeah, my thoughts are that you’ve got your facts wrong. The UK isn’t going to be out of Iraq fully until the end of next year.

As for Denmark, last I heard they had 515 soldiers currently in Ira, but I don’t know how many they have now-- maybe less than that number but certainly not more.

That hardly explains how the UK being part of the coalition in the first place - public opinion was always firmly against the invasion.

Denmark currently has 460 soldiers in Iraq. They will be coming home in August.

As to why now, I really have no idea, since our Prime minister has been rejecting the idea all up untill now*. And, like the UK, the public in general was never in favor of it in the first place.


  • That’s my perception, although I admit I never liked him.

I don’t have my finger on the pulse of British or Danish public opinion, but it might be a matter of strong disapproval of the war moving into the range of overwhelming and government changing disapproval.

Blair was messianic and delusional and now he is just delusional. He genuinely believes everything is going swimmingly in Basra so he sees this as ‘Mission Accomplished’.

The military realise they can’t do anything any more. Four contesting militias control Basra and all they can do is take fire on patrols and wait for their bases to be mortared at night. So they will play along, particularly if it means more resources for Afhanistan.

The Labour Party know that the slim chance they have of not being trounced at the next election becomes non-existent if they can’t put clear blue water between them and ‘Blair’s war’.

And the electorate just want it to somehow end.

Nobody wants a piece of the US Military right now - that’s a fight nobody, absolutely nobody is gonna win - especially at the nation-state level. Geurilla warfare is a different story of course, but Iran is making the foolish mistake of posturing at a nation-state level - and that’s a stoush they ain’t gonna come out in front on.

As to whether Iran is reacting to US actions, or conversely provoking US reactions - hmmm… I’ll let wiser heads than mine pass opinion on that. Certainly, Iran is finding herself in an increasingly uncomfortable place. Loads of military immediately to the west, and loads of military immediately to the east. Not a time to be making dumb moves one would think.

When we went in with the USA I reckoned that it was probably the best of a bad lot.

The WMD stuff was not proven, Al Qaeda was nonsense, but there was a good chance that we could muzzle the USA in certain productive areas. Like minimize the damage.

Sadly we are not pulling out, we are just reducing the number of troops by about 1700 and that is probably for logistical reasons.

I reckon that when Blair finally quits, the Labour party will embark on such a civil war that you could elect anyone after them.

Afghanistan is a different proposition, unpleasant as it sounds, it provides a live ammunition training ground - sort of a replacement for The Oman but with a more interesting climate.

This is the Iran run by a man who wants to bring on the Islamic version of the end-times. His version of “come out in front” will differ from yours, I fear.

Those military are kinda busy right where they are.

Or to look at it another way, Shiite Iran’s two neighbours and main rival local powers - secular Iraq and Taliban Afghanistan (both mostly Sunni) - have been kindly taken out of the way by the US and allies. Iran can’t believe its luck, and is in the strongest position it’s been in since the Persian Empire days.

Then why remain to train the Iraqi Army and protect Coalition supply routes, not to mention the Iraqi-Iranian border, if the situation is so in your mind, untangeable?

The Labour party, despite the conflict, will not be trounced at the next election, only because the alternative to Labour is a still unorganised Tory party, is what the electorate doesn’t want. Besides, this war shouldn’t be fought on an election timetable, it should be fought to achieve the political and military aims we set out for.

Because things aren’t either/or. Or necessarily logical rather than political. The world doesn’t run on such simplistic logic.

We can be doing no good on patrols and still be useful training. Or it just might be, like the drunk looking for his dropped key underneath a lampost because its the only place he can see, we’re doing it because its the only thing left we can do. Even if all we’re really doing is training one side of the all-out Civil War waiting to erupt when the USA pulls out.

We certainly don’t have the numbers to secure the Iranian border. Saddam didn’t have enough men to stop smuggling, particularly over the mountains in the north. All we can do is patrol. And if things were going anyhing less than disatrously supply lines wouldn’t need securing. But that the Coalition can’t move supplies except by air and in armed convoys that are constantly attacked and bombed speaks volumes in itself.

For Cheney to suggest the pullout means everything is going fine in Basra is also delusional. But Cheney and his ilk disqualified themselves from being taken seriously a long time ago.

Basra carnage escalates

The British Consulate was evacuated to the UK airport base at the end of last year.

Pullout will be ‘catalyst’ says Iraqi PresidentM

That doesn’t look, taste or smell like victory to me. That looks like belatedly realising we’re doing no good and throwing in the towel. But at least we’re redeploying troops to Afghanistan where, maybe, we can still stop the Taliban getting back in.

I hope you’re right about the Labour Party but I’m detecting the same, sullen, ‘we’re going to throw the bastards out regardless’ feel that marked the last Major administration. It’s a few years away but the election is the tories for losing I think.

The war, the endless spin, renewed tabloid hostilities, the drip-drip of scandal and the sheer bumbling incompetence has done New Labour in. Not to mention the boundary changes. I’d be very surprised if the tories didn’t have a good working majority and a bigger lead in percent of the popular vote.

The almost arithmetrically ,continually rising death count of british soldiers who are Iraq from the start is not a vote winner in the U.,K.

WAG but Prince Harry is scheduled to go to Iraq pretty soon. This pretty much shut up every Brit I know who complained about the War In Iraq. I wonder if it also shut up the Royal family (who is against Harry going to Iraq). The one thing that this government cannot withstand is opposition to the War in Iraq by members of the Royal family or worse yet the death of an heir to the throne. Is it possible that someone told Blair that the royal family would squack if Harry actully got shot at in Iraq.

I’m rather surprized that the Brits you know shut up about Iraq because of Harry’s impending field trip.

It is a bit of a tricky problem, if he did not go, then it would make him look like a toy soldier, and I suspect that he would kick up such a fuss that he would go anyway.
The idea of sending police minders with him is daft, there is a sort of system of ‘peer minders’ - although they have a tendency to get drunk and smoke dope with their charges.

I’m not sure how smart he is, but he will be surrounded by some very bright contemporaries and is bound to be influenced by their views. It is quite likely that the whole lot are not particularly keen on the Iraq debacle, although Regimental loyalty and a wish to do what they have been trained for mean that they’ll go, and will do their best, regardless.

I would imagine that most British would instinctively understand that.

On the next election subject, my view is that the Tories best bet is to keep things low profile and then come out with all they have in the few months (or maybe weeks) in the run up to the election. Their best strategy is to create a crescendo that peaks on election day, the UK electorate has a short attention span and is pretty cynical.

My guess is that as soon as Blair leaves, the Labour party will implode on itself in an orgy of infighting. Although there are precedents for a change of Prime Minister without an election, it is quite possible that there will be no candidate capable of commanding a majority - it is also possible that quite a lot of Labour MPs would quite like a snap election, especially the ones with safe seats, as they probably reckon that things can only get worse.

In a complete breach of the ethos of the SDMB - I have heard that the Tories have a very tight and secretive cabal. No details and no citations.

I would also not underestimate David Cameron, although he is a lot younger than me, we both did exactly the same degree at the same uni and college with the same tutors. In my time we were pointed in certain directions which influenced our outlook - not exactly brainwashing, more eye opening. It is hard to describe, but to give an example I developed the fervent belief that the House of Lords should be unelected and that hereditory peers were an asset as they added to the illegitimacy of the place.

If he went through the same mill and came out with the same warped outlook, then we could be in for a very interesting ride.

Incidentally I would not be at all surprized if DC had not consulted our old politics tutor to check out the situation where Her Maj cannot call on someone to form a Government, I rather suspect that the situation is that she can call on anyone and that if they get in there quickly enough they can call a General Election. I rather suspect that is what will happen.

I have no idea why this would shut anyone up. How do you mean? Shut them up protesting? It certainly would have no effect on my opinions.

Anectodal info: a coworker’s husband has just returned from a 90-day tour on a base in Basra. During that time the base was mortared 67 times. Amazingly no deaths, but several shrapnel wounds were sustained.

A handy template! Just add a “q” or an “n” as required. :wink: :frowning:

So now it’s not logical to train the Iraqi Army in the south, because in your view, they’ll just scupper at the first moment? With a view like that, there’s no point in debating because it will just come back full circle.

But since US withdrawal isn’t a certainly right now, there’s no basis that Iraq will spiral into a civil war, in fact, numerous attempts have been made by the ruling parties in government to amend the carnage and violence for example by providing assistance to families on both sides of the divide to return to their homes in Baghdad. Since when did civil wars have politicial parties in Parliament hashing it out whilst both sides butchered each other? The fact they’re both in the Iraqi Parliament at all signifys a great deal in how civil war has been abated (but I’ll admit not averted yet, of course in these situations, there’s always a prospect for civil war)

But not patrolling the border at all equals defeat because you’re not trying to at least limit the amount of violence and weapons going into Iraq, hence ‘border patrols’

Look, obviously it’s not going to be perfect, it never is, but to think that Basra is spiralling down into a hell hole because we’re leaving is a catch 22 argument. For instance, I can say the British, since operation Sinbad, not to mention it’s expertise in counter-insurgency techniques and nation building, has left the Iraqi Army in pretty good shape to take over. However, you’ll just come back with more statistics insisting it’s not all good, and never will be, on the presumption that because we invaded illegally, nothing we can do in Iraq can ever be right.

As for Patrick Cockburn, can’t we have someone a little more neutral in the reporting of Iraqi affairs to the general public?

Roll in the Neo-Con red carpet! :rolleyes:

When is the next election in the UK, anyway? I know that you guys don’t have fixed election dates (which seems like a rotten idea to me, but apparently it works), but do you have any idea?

It doesn’t have to be before May 2010, there’s a maximum of five years between them. I’ll agree it’s an odd system but has one massive advantage over a fixed term strategy: the election campaign only lasts a month or so.