Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Um, there's been three US military fatalities from IEDs in the Basra area in the last couple days or so. Two on "convoy operations" and one today on a "combat logistics patrol". That's the British sector - are they moving US troops down there?

Well, no, not exactly. The writeup makes the incidents sound like they're near Basra, but a closer examination of the CENTCOM releases and the mission of the two units affected - a Wisconsin battalion (2/127th Infantry) on Kuwaiti convoy protection duty and Texas's 56th Brigade Combat Team, occupying the desert southwest of Iraq - suggests that somebody was getting kind of loose with their geographical definitions. On second glance, this isn't some unheralded US reinforcement of the frazzled British, who have been slowly losing control of the situation in Basra.

Is it a Sunni insurgent move to try to interdict the Kuwait log-line? Shaibah, where the two Wisconsin soldiers were killed, is the British logistics base, and two British Fusiliers were killed in a similar incident Sept. 5 in the same location, so maybe not.

I don't know, any sign of a local Sadrist insurrection in Basra gets me worried, and indications that US troops are being shifted into the sector are especially worrisome. On closer examination, these *aren't* the signs I'm looking for. At worst, it's an indication that the Iranians are starting to stalk the British logistics routes, in preparation for a sort of slow-motion guerilla siege, to keep them from interfering with the Basra political situation.

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