Friday, October 31, 2008

RAF Police on the beat in Basra

Their primary role is to undertake regular patrols within the vast area of Basra's COB and to provide post-attack recovery, but RAF police are also providing training for local Iraqi police who will one day have responsibility for policing the area around the COB themselves.

Read more on the RMP Association blog here

Thursday, October 30, 2008

On the frontline with our boys in Iraq

Private Richard Partridge on patrol in Iraq.

Private Richard Partridge on patrol in Iraq.

Following a four-day stay with Lincoln troops in Iraq, Echo defence reporter Cerri Delaney writes about her experience of life in the once war-torn country.

While in Basra she stayed with the 2nd Battalion the Royal Anglian Regiment, also known as the Poachers.

"I'm not sure what I thought I'd find when I got to Basra, but a eerie silence wasn't it.

Before flying in on the RAF Hercules aircraft, I had to don full body armour and helmet, which did nothing to quash a mounting fear and the question of why I had decided to come here.

The war-torn city had such a reputation for being a hotbed of militia activity, I was fully expecting to hear bullets zipping past my head, or the distant sound of bombs peppering the night air.

Instead, I was greeted with a quiet calm and soldiers who seemed almost bored of the back seat role they play to Iraqi troops.

The UK force's main job in the city and its surrounding provinces, is to act as mentors for the Iraqi Army, with a lot of time spent advising Iraqi forces on conducting operations and training their troops.

The Poachers have completed five months of a six-month tour, which began shortly after the British forces handed over control of Basra in April this year to the Iraqi Army."

Click here for the Lincolnshire Echo

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Navy frigates defend world oil prices in the Gulf

In a small corner of the Gulf, British-led forces have been protecting the oil installations key to controlling world oil prices.

At a time of international economic fragility any attack on the sea terminals would lead to a potentially crippling rise in oil prices.

With two per cent of the world’s oil going through the terminals and security for area was branded “extremely important to the global economy" byd Commander Rory Bryan, captain of the frigate HMS Lancaster.

“They are clearly a tempting target for violent extremists and need to be protected," he said. "We are here to make sure their integrity remains safe.”

More than 2.4 million barrels a day flow out of the platforms in the Arabian Gulf and into the super tankers queuing up nose-to-tail surrounded by a flotilla of six warships on 24 hour readiness to intercept attackers.

The 10 square miles of water around the Al Basra and Khawr Al Amaya oil platforms, essentially huge petrol stations at sea, are the most protected waters in the world.

Read the full article on

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

UK expects to hand over Basra airport next year

Britain's defense secretary says he expects British troops to hand over their last major base in Iraq to local forces by the end of next year.

John Hutton says that if all goes well, the handover of Basra's airport would take place by the end of 2009. Britain has about 4,000 troops based at the airport on the outskirts of Iraq's second city.

Hutton says he is optimistic about the situation in Basra, where security is ''significantly better'' than in recent years.

Read the full article on the Hong Kong Standard's web site here

From Barrow to Basra – Hutton tours frontline and outlines future UK role

DEFENCE Secretary John Hutton was today out on patrol on the dangerous streets of downtown Basra to see for himself the risk to British troops on the frontline in Southern Iraq.

KEY TALKS: Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, right, meets British Defense Secretary John Hutton, left, in Baghdad yesterday

The Barrow and Furness MP was with squaddies in a six-wheeled Mastiff armoured car as they did their job in the city.

Mr Hutton arrived at the main British troop base at Basra Airport on the outskirts of the city early this morning after meeting Iraqi Prime Minister, Nouri Al Maliki, and his Defence Chief General, Abdul Qadir, in the capital Baghdad yesterday.

Mr Hutton has signalled there would be a “fundamental change” in Britain’s role in Iraq early next year, adding that “significant progress” had been made in Iraq in recent months and security was improving across the country.

Read the full article on The North West Evening Mail here

Monday, October 27, 2008

U.S. Troops Whip Flabby Iraqi Police Force Into Shape

BASRA, Iraq — The Iraqi police force is a work in progress — the weak point in Iraq's domestic security — but it's stronger now than it was two years ago as the U.S. struggles to whip it into shape.

FOX News spent two days at a Basra police station, an island of quiet on a Saturday afternoon. No phones rang because there was no phone line, and at 2 p.m. most of the officers were napping. Out of five patrol cars, only one works — and that one needs a push.

See the full report on Fox news here

Sunday, October 26, 2008

British Police Walk The Streets In Basra

ACC leads a team of 16 UK police officers and they have been walking the streets of Basra...

In a move that would have been unthinkable a few months ago, UK police officers have been walking the streets of Basra with their Iraqi counterparts.

Leading the team of sixteen police officers deployed in Iraq is Assistant Chief Constable Geoff Cooper of South Wales Police who is seconded to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Levels of violence in the southern Iraqi city in the past would have meant such a visit was impossible.

However, due to the improving security situation ACC Cooper and Chief Inspector Alan Costello from Sussex Police, together with the Basra Chief of Police, Major General Adel Dahham, have been talking to local people to develop the concept of Community Policing.

ACC Cooper said, “It’s an absolutely tremendous feeling because being here on the streets of Basra at this moment in time just shows how much the security situation has improved.”

Read the full article on click here

Friday, October 24, 2008

Iraq takes over

American military disengagement from Iraq continued yesterday with the transfer of Babil to local control.

That achievement, in a province whose northern district was known as "the triangle of death", was in part due to the Awakening Councils, Sunni militias who turned against the foreign jihadists.

Their formation and the surge in American troop deployment mean that 12 out of the country's 18 provinces are now under Baghdad's command, with Wasit expected to follow shortly.

Read the full article on the

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Poppy Appeal launched in Iraq

This year's Royal British Legion's Poppy Appeal has been officially launched in Basra.

The annual push to raise money for ex-service personnel and their dependents takes on added poignancy as this year marks the 90th anniversary of the Armistice which brought an end to the First World War.

A special service marked the start of the 2008 appeal. It was held in front of a wall filled with plaques commemorating British servicemen and women killed in Iraq since 2003.

To watch the TV report from Basra on click here

Poppy Appeal launched from Basra

The Royal British Legion has launched the Poppy Appeal from Basra.

This year's Poppy Appeal has been launched in Iraq, the first time the campaign has been launched from an active war zone.
The Royal British Legion said the choice was a reminder that it helped active personnel as well as veterans.

Spokesman Robert Lee said UK troops had been on active service somewhere in the world every year since 1945, with some 16,500 lives lost.

The launch in Basra was accompanied by songs from the soprano Hayley Westenra.
The Poppy Appeal raises funds for the Royal British Legion, which provides support to serving members of the Armed Forces, the ex-service community and their dependents.

Mr Lee told the BBC: "Every single one of these veterans is eligible for legion support and every single person in uniform today is eligible for our support."

For the full story on the BBC News website click here

New York Post - Day in pictures

Visitors enjoy the rides at the Al Andalous fun fair in Basra, Iraq. Britain's Prime Minister Gordon Brown has indicated that the number of UK troops could be scaled down - especially as the security situation in the south of the country continues to improve.

Click here to link to the New York Post

Soldiers tell of service in Iraq

By Will Ockendon, Northants Evening Telegraph

Soldiers from the Northampton region who are serving in war-torn Iraq have spoken about their experiences.

Private Martyn Roach, 26, from Wellingborough, and Private Danny Towns, 19, from Kettering, are helping to train members of the Iraqi security forces.

Pte Roach said: "Training the Iraqis has not been too bad and sometimes it is quite fun. We did an exercise where I played the enemy and the Iraqis had to come and capture me and throw me on their wagon.They were so happy to speak to me and know where I was from and hear all about it. They are really friendly."

Pte Towns said: "It's been good doing the training days but I was expecting to be a bit more active, especially in the infantry."Teaching the Iraqis how to do strike operations was good fun."

For the full story click here for the Northants Evening Telegraph

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Troop draw down crucial for Army

By Caroline Wyatt
Defence correspondent, BBC News

During the invasion of Iraq in 2003, 46,000 British personnel were engaged in the operation.

That number is now down to 4,100 and could decrease even further next year, according to the prime minister.

Gordon Brown's words "a fundamental change of mission" mean a dramatic scaling down of Britain's troops in southern Iraq from early next year.

It may not be a complete withdrawal, but more than five years since the invasion, it is at last looking possible that British troops could leave Basra - and leave behind them a functioning place.

For the full story click here for the BBC News website

'We want to prove ourselves in the field'

By Paul Bradley

A NEW type of heroism is taking a stranglehold of Midlands troops based in Southern Iraq.

More than five years ago the First Battalion the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers was part of the first battlegroup to successfully enter and take control of Basra City.

Frequent firefights and tactical manoeuvres was the order of the day back then, but now the battle landscape has dramatically changed – and the role of our troops has transformed significantly.

Today the First Fusiliers, who are heavily recruited from Birmingham and Warwickshire, are providing much needed security for the 4,000 British troops based in the Contingency Operating Base at Basra International Airport.

And the Battalion’s patrols of the provinces’s marshland villages has all but stopped the insurgent rocket attacks that was paralysing the army base as recently as May.

Add to this the mentoring role the Fusiliers play on the extremely sensitive Iran border at Shalamcheh and it soon becomes clear exactly how much of an effect our soldiers are continuing to have in the war torn country.

Their resilience and determination in the face of some of the toughest conditions is impressive on it’s own but take a step back and look at the bigger picture and the effect becomes even more dramatic.

Workers from the Basra Reconstruction Committee are now able to enter the city without the support of the Fusiliers and their trade mark Warrior fighting vehicles.

This was unthinkable before the Fusiliers arrived.

Read the full story on the Birmingham Mail website here

Iraqi Commandos in Basra

150 Iraqi troops are training to become Commandos under the watchful eyes of soldiers from the Poachers. The training being undertaken by the Commando Company is more physically demanding than infantry training and goes further to instill the sense of teamwork essential in any military force.

“We aim to give the Iraqi army a lasting legacy of well qualified training staff with first class facilities that will provide a self-reliant training institution for the future,” said Major Simon Worthy, of 2nd Battalion, The Royal Anglian Regiment (The Poachers)

The day in pictures

The Baltimore Sun, Day in Pictures

People use the dodgem cars at the Al Andalous fun fair on Friday in Basra.
Before the Iraqi lead operation, Charge of the Kinghts, to resore security to the city, visitors to the fun fair were often risking thier livesfrom physical threats from the militias and most stayed away.

See the picture on the The Baltimore Sun website here

Fighting dust and heat, these soldiers have the X-Factor...

HEARTS are pumping as the Black Hawk helicopter races through the night over Iraq.
Figures that I can just make out in the black of a cramped chopper cabin are nervously facing forward.

The rotor blades cut through the air as we fly over the settlements of Basra Province.
The pilot, co-pilot and two American side gunners, using night-vision goggles, look out for enemy positions.

It is an eerie and nervous flight for those members of the 9th/12th Lancers on board.

Silently they wait for touchdown at their base by the side of Iraq's busiest port of Umm Qasr – a gateway to the world for the people and commerce of the country.

As the Black Hawk finally lands and the soldiers disembark with their kit and their most important cargo – the post from home – there is audible relief. It's another safe landing.

For the full article click here for the Derbeyshire Evening Telegraph

MP Hutton's tea break with Barrow soldier in Iraq

DEFENCE Secretary John Hutton surprised a Furness squaddie by dropping in to see him in Iraq.

Senior Aircraftsman Jon Corkill sent an email to Mr Hutton two weeks ago congratulating the Barrow and Furness MP on landing his new job as Defence Secretary.

The 27-year-old dad-of-three also invited Mr Hutton for a brew and chat the next time he was in Iraq. Mr Hutton took up SAC Corkill’s invite on Monday when the pair met in Basra.

Mr Corkill, who is serving as a crash rescue firefighter, training the Iraqi fire service, told Mr Hutton: “The best part of my job here is working with the lads and seeing the Iraqi services taking more responsibility for the airfield. The hardest thing is being away from my family.

“Training the Iraqi fire service is a vital part of their development and is key to them taking over the airfield responsibilities. This is an awesome airport with great potential to help the area develop.

To read the full article on the North West Evening Mail click here

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Policeman swaps South Wales for streets of Basra

A SOUTH Wales policeman is patrolling the streets of Iraq. Assistant Chief Constable Geoff Cooper, 49, has been posted to Basra alongside 15 other British police officers as part of their secondment to the Foreign Office.

Mr Cooper, who is married and lives in Cardiff, said: “It’s an absolutely tremendous feeling because being here on the streets of Basra just shows how much the security situation has improved.”

It is the first time British police have been able to patrol Iraq’s second city alongside their Iraqi counterparts, including over the Eid celebrations.

Mr Cooper, who has been working in the Middle East as the UK’s chief police adviser for the past seven months, said: “It was a privilege to be able to share the joy of families celebrating the festivities, which would have previously been impossible.

“Our mission is about listening to the needs of the Iraqi police and supporting them to develop Iraqi systems and processes, which will stand the test of time.”

For the full story on Wales online click here

Read more on News Wales online here

County soldiers 'provide enduring legacy' in Iraq

The work of Northamptonshire's soldiers, who have been in Basra to mentor, train and advise the Iraqi army, will provide an "enduring legacy" in the war-torn country.

Soldiers from 2 Royal Anglian and 9th/12th Lancers have been living and working alongside the Iraqi Security Forces in the province since May, providing training courses and protection to the country's army.

Monday, October 20, 2008

We are getting closer to achieving goal - says Hutton

The Defence Secretary John Hutton visited downtown Basra today after visiting Baghdad where he met with Prime Minister Maliki .

During the visit to Basra he commented:

“As my first time in Basra, I was amazed by the sense of optimism as I heard of the tremendous gains made here in the last few months. The local military, police and ordinary citizens made it quite clear they were optimistic the city would not slip back into violence. And the new investment, development and infrastructure improvements I have seen will support this determination."

“It is clear the support of our forces and our role in training the Iraqi Army has been critical in achieving these improvements. Now, we want to focus on training and education to get us closer to our aim of passing full control to the Iraqi authorities."

“We are getting closer to achieving this goal and I hope we can reach the point when we can consider a significant change to our mission here next year."

“This massive progression is due to the efforts of every British service personnel and civilian who has served here, and I am hugely proud of what they have achieved. ”

Hutton pledges changed role in Iraq

Defence Secretary John Hutton has signalled there will be a "fundamental change" in Britain's role in Iraq early next year as he made his first visit to Baghdad.

He held talks with Iraqi prime minister Nouri Maliki before meeting the small number of UK forces stationed in the Iraqi capital.
Afterwards, he said "significant progress" had been made in Iraq in recent months and security was improving across the country.

"We want, in the first months of next year, to see a fundamental change in our military mission in Iraq, moving towards an increased focus on military training and education as part of a broad-based bilateral partnership," he said.

"We agreed to work together intensively to put in place, by the end of this year, a formal agreement in relation to the status of UK forces in Iraq which will underpin this change."

To read the full report on the Press Association click here.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Iraq Troop Agreement By New Year

The future of British forces in Iraq could be decided by the end of this year.

Speaking after his first visit to the country, the new Defence Secretary John Hutton said the Government and the Iraqis wanted to change the UK's role.

"We want, in the first months of next year, to see a fundamental change in our military mission in Iraq, moving towards an increased focus on military training and education as part of a broad-based bilateral partnership," he said.

"We agreed to work together intensively to put in place, by the end of this year, a formal agreement in relation to the status of UK forces in Iraq which will underpin this change."
After a meeting with Mr Hutton, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki said he would appoint a negotiating team to "discuss the future of British forces".

Read the full Sky News report here.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Bill Rammell visit to Basra

Bill Rammell is in Iraq this week, on his first Ministerial visit overseas since taking up his position as Minister to the Middle East last week. His visit follows earlier trips to the region this year by the Foreign Secretary David Miliband in April and Prime Minister Gordon Brown in July.

This visit is an opportunity for Bill Rammell to meet leaders from Iraq's main communities and discuss a wide range of issues affecting both the UK and Iraq. Focus will be given to the present situation in the region and the building of a long term and mutually beneficial relationship between the two countries.

A few days into his visit Bill Rammell commented on the hard work and dedication of HMG staff based in Iraq and the progress being made in the region. He said

`I am really pleased to visit Iraq within my first 10 days in post. Despite ongoing challenges I'm very impressed by the progress being made in Iraq.

To read the full article on the Isria website click here.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Joint foot patrol with the Iraqi army in Basra

The Washington Times ran a picture of Maj. Callum Lane as he glances down the street during a joint foot patrol with the Iraqi army in Basra, Iraq, on Wednesday. The economic crisis has tightened the Pentagon's defense budget.

To read the full article on the Washington Times website click here

Lewis answers Iraqi 999 call

A PETERBOROUGH firefighter has embarked on a mission to help train new firefighters in a country torn apart by war. Twenty-five-year-old Lewis Collins, from Yaxley, is attached to the Royal Air Force.

The Senior Aircraftman, who is based at RAF Honington, is currently in southern Iraq, where his job is to protect RAF planes and personnel and help train new Iraqi firefighters.

RAF firefighters have been working at Basra airfield since 2003, when British military forces started using the site as their main military base in the area.

However, the Ministry of Defence say it is one of the main aims of the current British commander in Basra that the airport will be handed back to full Iraqi control in the next few months.

To do this they need their own skilled fire service, so Lewis and his 15 RAF firefighting colleagues train with the Iraqi firefighters every day in practical exercises on the airfield and theory training.

To read the full article click here for the Peterborough Evening Telegraph

Security Progress in Basra Paves Way for Economic, Social Improvements

After three months commanding Multinational Division Southeast in Iraq, British Royal Marine Maj. Gen. Andy Salmon said he’s struck by progress since the Iraqi Army’s “Charge of the Knights” operation this spring and the way Iraqi security forces have stepped up since securing Basra.

Speaking to Pentagon reporters via teleconference, Salmon cited low levels of violence, on par with crime and murder rates in Manchester, England, and lower on a per-capita basis than in Washington.

“Overall, there seems to be a spirit of reconciliation and peace in the air here in Basra,” he said. “That’s really constant.”

People express confidence in the Iraqi security forces, who have reciprocated in their approach to the local population, Salmon said. He noted that during the recent Ramadan observance, the security forces sponsored feasts in some of the most socially deprived parts of town.

Meanwhile, other parts of the city hosted a huge Eid celebration to mark the end of Ramadan.

“It was the first time in three years that people were downtown in restaurants, dancing, singing into the early hours with the music and really celebrating with fireworks the festival of Eid,” Salmon said.

The celebrations represent a broader sense of calm in Basra, thanks to “a truly joint coalition effort there” and increasingly capable Iraqi security forces, he said.

Read the full article by Donna Miles on the American Forces Press Service

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Spirits rising as our job is almost done

By Paul Bradley

TWO days in to my mini tour of duty in Basra and my perception of things has already changed dramatically.

Before I left I thought the army was engaged in frequent firefights with the enemy.

But since arriving here I have found they have only been in one or two and the base hasn’t been attacked since the beginning of September. There is still a job to be done here by the Fusiliers though, many of them from Birmingham and the West Midlands.

A lot of the time they are waiting to support other operations or to be called out on strikes that target specific threats. The soldiers will tell you they’re bored and counting down the days until they can go home. It’s totally understandable.

They haven’t seen their young children, wives, mums, dads, brothers and sisters for more than four months. The last time they went for a beer with their mates was before they came out on tour in May.

In hot, dusty conditions the soldiers crave a break and a bit of downtime as they are deprived of sleep for up to 36 hours at a time.

They are trained to deal with it but it quite obviously takes its toll by the look on their faces.

But spirits are still high in Basra.

To read more about life in Basra on the Birmingham Mail website click here

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Scots push Basra as a land of opportunity

Iraq needs new infrastructure — and can pay for it

FOR most management consultants, the trickiest decision they face is where to have lunch. For Gavin Jones and Adrian Green, things are a bit more complicated. And that includes where to have lunch.

Last week Jones was in Helmand, the Afghan province. A few weeks ago he and Green were in the Iraqi port city of Basra. Their role, and that of their consultancy firm Upper Quartile, is to help set up the post-conflict economic environment in both countries and attract investment.
It may seem a thankless task, but Jones and Green obviously enjoy the challenge and claim that, in Iraq, things have improved a great deal.

“The situation [in Iraq] is very different from nine months ago,” said Jones from the relative safety of Upper Quartile’s offices in Edinburgh. “I am not saying it’s totally safe, but the level of violence has dropped a great deal.”

Read the full article from the Times Online here

Basra secure, British forces say

British commanders in the southern Iraqi port city of Basra hailed the improved security situation as Baghdad said Monday they are no longer needed there.

In an interview with the Times of London published Monday, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said British troops were not needed for security purposes in the south of the country.

"Definitely, the presence of this number of British soldiers is no longer necessary. We thank them for the role they have played, but I think that their stay is not necessary for maintaining security and control," he said.

Meanwhile, British Maj. Gen Andy Salmon praised the Iraqi people and an Iraqi assault in March called Charge of the Knights with bringing security to the port city, the British Ministry of Defense said.

For the full article in the Middle East Times click here

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Scots and Iraqi troops band together

SCOTTISH and Iraqi troops have delivered much-needed equipment to three schools in the Abu Al Kasib region of Basra.

British-funded generators, computers and water coolers were delivered by soldiers of 4th Battalion, the Highlanders, the Royal Regiment of Scotland along with 50th Brigade, of the Iraqi army, who they are currently mentoring.

To read the full article on the Press & Journal website click here

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Project to improve electricity supplies in Basra

A local company has wrapped up the first stage in a project to improve electricity energy efficiency in the southern Iraqi city of Basra, an official statement said.

“The project has been referred by the reconstruction and services committee in Basra and will be financed through the $100 million grant allocated by the prime minister for the province,” according to a statement released by the Iraqi cabinet’s national center for media and received by Aswat al-Iraq.

To read the full article on Aswat al-Iraq click here

Friday, October 10, 2008

Reporter to discover a soldier's lot in Iraq

ASK the average man on the street about Iraq and he will tell you about kidnapping, suicide bombers and terrorism.

Talk to him for a little longer and he might bring up the tyrant Saddam Hussein, weapons of mass destruction and America’s war for oil.

But rarely are our country’s troops given more than an afterthought as they continue to carry out orders in basic living conditions and soaring temperatures in one of the world’s most dangerous conflict zones.

Click here to read Paul Bradley's reports for the Birmingham Mail

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Sussex policeman heads to Basra

It may not be everyone's preferred destination but Sussex policeman Alan Costello has moved to Iraq, he’s swapped Friday nights in Brighton for Basra.

As Victoria Heath reports from Meridian TV Alan is offering support to the Iraq security forces on community policing. The challenges that arise from the relocation vary from the heat and flies to the very real possibility of rocket attacks. Scary stuff indeed.

Nevertheless, Alan recognises the importance of his role in rebuilding the country’s infrastructure, but is under no illusion that moving Sussex policing to Basra will not solve the inherent problems. Instead, he understands the importance of an Iraqi-led solution supported by the work he and others from our own police service can offer.

To date the project has seen over 1000 Iraqis train in skills relevant to establish a police force and it is thanks to the likes of Alan who you can hear discussing his work here.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Battle for business begins as military hostilities in Iraq take peaceful turn

A fall in the number of attacks across Iraq has emboldened a growing list of companies, including ArcelorMittal, Royal Dutch Shell and Cairn Energy, to explore opportunities in the resources-rich country for the first time since the invasion.

Southern Iraq, where British forces have been based since 2003, is an area of particular interest, sitting on one of the world’s biggest oil and gas reserves. It also has a strong industrial and agricultural base and the country’s only port.

To read the full Times article by Deborah Haynes click here

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Friday, October 3, 2008

Community Policing in Basra

In a move that would have been unthinkable a few months ago, British police officers have been walking the streets of Basra with their Iraqi counterparts.

Following a meeting with Major General Adel of the Iraqi Police Service, Assistant Chief Constable Geoff Cooper and Chief Inspector Alan Costello walked along the banks of the Sha’at Al Arab waterway.

In doing so they demonstrated the development of the Iraqi Police Service in their efforts to increase public and community support.

Iraq participates in trade fair in Greece

Iraq will participate in a trade-industrial fair to be hosted in Greece late this year, according to Iraq’s exporters & importers union chief on Wednesday.

“A delegation will represent Iraq in Exporana Show Athens 2008, the largest diverse industries fair in Greece, where Iraqi industrialists and businessmen will meet with their Greek peers to discuss means to further industrial and trade relations between the two countries,” Thabit al-Baladawi told Aswat al-Iraq.

Read the full story on IraqUpdates

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

A reassuring presence

Soldiers from the north and north-east are helping to stem the flow of weapons, drugs and people into Iraq from across the Iranian border. Reporter Morag Lindsay and photographer Kami Thomson find out how the Highlanders are helping the Iraqi army.

It looks more like the set of Mad Max than an Army camp. Jagged skeletons of bombed-out warehouses loom out of the dust, framing a tangle of towers, domes and bridges and piles of charred and buckled steel.

Packs of semi-feral dogs roam the barricades, their howls competing with the drone of generators and the frequent calls to prayer from the mosque in nearby Abu al Khasib. Welcome to Camp Craw – home to the Assaye platoon of the Highlanders, 4th Battalion Royal Regiment of Scotland, and the most southerly base for the Scottish troops tasked with restoring security to Basra.

For the full story click here to go to the Press & Journal website