October 29th, 2006


Wherein Blair's military policy gets a jolly good rogering.

The British consulate in Basra is being evacuated by British forces, over security concerns... visions of Iraqis gleefully looting the British Consulate are presumably soon to follow. (UPDATE: It looks like most of the consulate's staff will be evacuating, but that the consulate will not be left completely unguarded. The consulate's civilian employees are leaving because it has it has been judged too dangerous for them to continue to work by a private security contractor. The British government are calling this a "temporary" security procedure, but presumably the threat behind the withdrawl isn't going away anytime soon.)

This kinda thing is nothing new, and has, in fact, happened twice before. I wonder what the British government will call this incident? A strategic redeployment, perhaps?

Meanwhile, the British aren't doing much better in Afghanistan, with Taliban roaming the countryside at will.

They recently forced the British to abandon their platoon house at Musa Qala, and were only able to get their vehicles after a ceasefire deal brokered by local tribal elders, which required the British to withdraw. Basically, while the British are able to roam through significant portions of Afghanistan, they are unable to control much of it at all.

Clearly, the British military cannot win two longterm wars of occupation. Frankly, I strongly doubt whether they can even win one, as their forces simply aren't large enough to control the territory needed.

*UPDATE* - Hey, looks like it's not just me saying how incredibly overstretched the British are. It looks like "Blair's most trusted" military commander is saying so too.

'Anyone who thought this was going to be a picnic in Afghanistan - anyone who had read any history, anyone who knew the Afghans, or had seen the terrain, anyone who had thought about the Taliban resurgence, anyone who understood what was going on across the border in Baluchistan and Waziristan [should have known] - to launch the British army in with the numbers there are, while we're still going on in Iraq is cuckoo.'