The British have had a far more peaceful time in Iraq than the Americans. The zone they occupy in the south is mainly populated by sympathetic Shiite Muslims, and residents say British troops -- experienced from their imperial past in Iraq -- treat the people with much more sensitivity. \nThe result is that the British military has had 14 soldiers killed in combat since the fall of Saddam Hussein in April, compared to more than 370 among the Americans, who patrol the central "Sunni Triangle," where the anti-occupation insurgency is at its hottest. \nIraqis in the south's main city, Basra, give the British high marks for showing more understanding of Iraqi culture and religion and having a softer touch in keeping security. Even while raiding homes, "they shake hands and are polite," said Sheik Abdul-Sattar al-Bahadli, an aide to the hardline Shiite leader Muqtada al-Sadr. \nFor the British, being in Iraq is deja vu. \nBritish troops seized Iraq from the Ottoman Turks in World War I and occupied the country. By 1920, the country was in open rebellion, which the UK crushed in three months of fighting. But the country remained unruly and difficult to govern until the UK granted full independence in 1932. \nToday's 8,220-member British force is part of a multinational division of more than 13,000 forces from 13 countries that is responsible for four southern provinces covering about a quarter of Iraq, some 150,000km2 -- a region that is much less fertile ground for anti-occupation violence than the mainly Sunni regions north and west of Baghdad. \nThe Shiites who dominate the south were harshly persecuted by Saddam's regime and generally backed the war that forced him from power. Foreign fighters or Saddam loyalists thought to be behind the anti-US insurgency do not have a support base among the population. \nNo British soldier has been killed by hostile fire since Oct. 31. \n"The truth is we do have a lot of experience in the peacekeeping area," said squadron leader Major David King. "But would we have the same problem had we been in control of Sunni areas? I don't know. We still take precautions." \nMany here say the reason for the peace also lies with the way British soldiers treat the local population. \nUS soldiers' heavy-handed methods in Fallujah, Ramadi and other Sunni cities has fueled support for the insurgency in those areas. \nTribal leaders have been subjected to humiliating arrests in front of their tribesmen, hooded and handcuffed. US troops also were accused of putting their boots on the back of men's heads as they lay face down. \n"The British are more experts in colonialism than the Americans," explained Sheik al-Bahadli in Basra. "I have never heard of a British soldier putting his foot on the head of an Iraqi while his hands are tied," said al-Bahadli. \n"They are more civilized," said Rubab al-Sudani, dean of the history department at Basra University. "Americans behave like cowboys and are too rough with the people." \nBut even those who praise the British say they resent their presence as occupiers. And some criticize them for having too soft a touch, ignoring crime and militia violence in Basra and offering little support to Iraqi police trying to keep order. \n"We are not happy with them," said al-Sudani. "We cannot accept the fact that someone from the outside is ruling us." \nShe and many others feel the British, as much as the Americans, are just looking for economic gains in Iraq, handing out contracts to foreign companies rather than Iraqis. \n"If you scratch the surface a bit, you will see their real faces," said al-Sudani.
India has moved additional troops along its northern border as it prepares for an extended conflict with China, after several rounds of talks failed to ease tensions between the nuclear-armed rivals. China has already placed about 5,000 soldiers and armored vehicles within its side of the disputed border in the Ladakh region, an Indian government official said, asking not to be identified, citing rules. India is adding a similar number of troops as well as artillery guns along the border to fend off the continuing incursions by the Chinese army, the official said. The standoff began on May 5, when troops clashed
CLOSELY TRACKED: A US officer said that the warplanes were watched as they flew from Russia by way of Iran and Syria to Libya and were photographed multiple times The US Africa Command flatly rejected Russian claims that Moscow did not deploy fighter jets to Libya, saying on Friday that the 14 aircraft flown in reflect Russia’s long-term goal to establish a foothold in the region that could threaten NATO allies. US Brigadier General Gregory Hadfield, deputy director of intelligence, said that the US tracked the MiG-29s and Su-24 fighter bombers flown in by Russian military, passing through Iran and Syria before landing at Libya’s al-Jufra air base. The base is the main forward airfield for Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar and his self-styled Libyan National Army, which has been waging an
Singapore’s otters, long adored by the city-state’s nature lovers, are popping up in unexpected places during the COVID-19 lockdown, but their antics have angered some and even sparked calls for a cull. With the streets empty, the creatures have been spotted hanging out by a shopping center, scampering through the lobby of a hospital and even feasting on pricey fish stolen from a pond. While many think of tiny Singapore as a densely populated concrete jungle, it is also relatively green for a busy Asian city, and has patches of rainforest, fairly clean waterways and abundant wildlife. There are estimated to be about
Indonesian officials are forcing people who break social distancing rules to recite Koran verses, stay in “haunted” houses and submit to public shaming on social media as the country battles to contain surging novel coronavirus infections. The Southeast Asian archipelago began deploying about 340,000 troops across two dozen cities to oversee enforcement of measures aimed at halting transmission of the disease, such as wearing masks in public. However, provincial leaders are buttressing these efforts with their own zealous campaigns to fight the coronavirus. Police in western Bengkulu Province have assembled a 40-person squad to find lockdown scofflaws and force them to wear