British and Iraqi troops begin new security operation in Basra

September 27th, 2006  
Team Infidel

Topic: British and Iraqi troops begin new security operation in Basra

Media: The Associated Press
Date: 27 September 2006

BAGHDAD, Iraq - British and Iraqi troops launched an ambitious security
operation in Basra early Wednesday morning, aimed at rooting out corrupt
police, pacifying the southern city and helping residents rebuild.

Some 2,300 Iraqi army troops and 1,000 British soldiers are involved in the
security drive in the city dubbed "Operation Sinbad," with another 2,000
British troops also conducting operations in the surrounding area, said
British forces spokesman Maj. Charlie Burbridge.

They began deploying in a southeastern section of the city, Iraq's second
largest, at about 5:30 a.m. (0130 GMT) and will eventually move through the
entire city in an operation that is expected to take months, Burbridge said.

"We're gradually inching our way forward, ultimately our aim here is to take
Basra to a place where it can be turned over to Iraqi control," he said in a
telephone interview from southern Iraq.

In June, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki declared a state of emergency in
Basra following a rise in violence among mostly Shiite groups competing for
power in the predominantly Shiite city. Basra is 550 kilometers (340 miles)
southeast of the capital, about 50 kilometers (31 miles) from the Iranian

Since January 2005, the city has fallen under the influence of Shiite
militias, which have infiltrated the police and local government
institutions there.

A main component of the operation is a crackdown on police corruption, and a
special team will be going station-by-station to weed out those involved in
it, Burbridge said.

"We know where the problems are," he said.

He said Operation Sinbad is similar to the U.S. and Iraqi security drive in
the capital, Operation Together Forward, in which troops have been moving
neighborhood-by-neighborhood since the summer to root out militias, then
following up with civil affairs projects to help rebuild infrastructure.

"It's broadly akin to the operation that has been going on in Baghdad,"
Burbridge said. "We're not going house to house, although we have a search
warrant that allows us to do that, however, and if there is specific
intelligence that a place needs to be searched and we will do that. But the
focus is really on increasing the standard of living for your average Basra

Projects will start with simple things like street cleaning and ensuring
street lights are working. Midterm projects include the renovation of
hospitals, while a longer term project is to restore a date farm plantation
that has been out of use for more than a decade.

"In time, it will employ several thousands of people," Burbridge said.

There is no specific timeframe for the operation to be completed, but
Burbridge said it will last "a number of months _ until the end of the year,
at least."

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