Unconventional thinking about the Middle East.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Images from Today's Fighting in Basra

Al-Hurra TV has incredible footage from the fighting today in Basra that pitted Iraqi security forces against a weird 'new-age' Shia cult. I found some of the scenes very disturbing.

First, the Iraqi security forces involved in this operation were very poorly trained; distribution of fighters, muzzle discipline and chain of command were all lacking. There were several fighters in civilian uniform and others wearing military-issue uniforms with civilian coats. Soldiers were shouting the names of the Shia Imams to give themselves courage; it looked like a mess and sounded like amateur hour.

Then five minutes into the video, we see a badly wounded cult member who seems as if he is dying. He is taunting the soldiers by encouraging them to kill him and calling them "cowards" and "debased". But the excitable reaction from the soldiers exposed them as undisciplined and thuggish: instead of providing medical aid, they left him to bleed and cursed him out by saying that the cult members were "Jews" and "infidels". One placed him boot on the dying man's mouth to keep him from talking and another spat on him. Others broke out into a chant, the longer version of which is associated with the Sadrist movement.

I was watching this and reminding myself of the footage showing Kamal Mustafa, Saddam's cousin and the head of the Republican Guard, kick the life out of civilians in the 1991 Uprising near Nassiriya.

Any US or Iraqi military officer watching this footage should be ashamed. Soldiers panic under fire and the worst in many people comes out. The Iraqi Army carried the day against a small, misguided and violent cult, but the damage that this footage has done to Army's reputation, which had been gradually improving, will be hard to undo quickly.

This behavior captured by Al-Hurra TV should turn into a scandal, and some politicians should be making a big case out of it.

UPDATE (January 20, 2008):

An Al-Hurra TV anchor puts the commander of the Basra police on the spot over the beating of the dying man. Nice work!

One thoughtful Talisman Gate reader suggests that blame for the poor training and discipline of the troops and police in Basra exhibited in the footage above should be assigned to the British, who have made a thorough mess of Iraq's most promising economic hub while managing Basra Province on behalf of the coalition for the last five years. Another observer has remarked that the British military in Basra resembles a "third world army when compared with America's warriors"; maybe that's why their legacy has proven so brittle and uninspiring. The British allowed Sadrist pipsqueaks to push them around while standing on the globe's largest oil lakes. Oh, that imperial sun has most definitly set.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The thuggishness and apparent Sadrist identification displayed by the ISFs in this incident are thoroughly consistent with the worst horror stories of the notorious Interior Ministry, which even after multiple purges to get rid of Sadr's corrupt goons is still one of the government's biggest problems. In contrast, few cases of such behavior on the part of the Iraqi Army (Defense Ministry) have been reported in the past couple of years. Can you tell from the uniforms whether the ISFs in the present incident were Iraqi Army or National Police?

7:56 PM, January 18, 2008

Blogger Iraqi Mojo said...

Nibras, a discussion about your post has been taking place on my blog, and people there are also wondering if these thugs are Army or Police, trained by the US or British?

6:50 AM, January 19, 2008

Blogger bg said...


all i have to say is whether or or they acted in an improper manner.. to compare Saddam's thugs vs innocent civilians to Iraqi Forces (no matter Army or Police) vs barbaric thugs is absurd.. where is all the footage of the numerous other operations these brave souls have performed & given their lives to protect you & yours?? nowhere to be found i'm certain.. yet you use this one instance to condemn the entire US & Iraqi Forces?? as far as i'm concerned, you're the one who should be ashamed, uhg!!


6:41 PM, January 19, 2008

Blogger bg said...


correcting typo..

re: bg @ 6:41 PM..

should read: whether or not they


6:47 PM, January 19, 2008

Blogger Louise said...

I wonder who made the video and why. Is it current or old?

8:06 AM, January 20, 2008

Blogger bg said...


that's the "shameful" film clip??

hah, i laugh at you..

what it is is another PALLYWOOD special..

i'm surprised you fell for that piece of crap propaganda TG..

you've lost any credibility i used to afford you..


11:26 AM, January 20, 2008

Blogger Anand said...

Nibras, I brought up your Basrah ISF clip with ISF experts at Soldiers Dad2.

It appears that the ISF involved are IP. The IP appear to be using aimed and measured fire within their ROE (rules of engagement.)

They have some questions regarding the words that are said in the piece. Could you please answer their questions?


from http://soldiersdad2.blogspot.com/2008/01/2018.html

Thanks for sharing this video with all your fans.

5:56 PM, January 20, 2008

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I see many blaming the Iraq Army for this in comments at several sites. Uniforms or not these guys were not IA. My son just returned from 15 months in Bagdad (5 months MiTT) and I am holding hundreds , maybe thousands of pictures and videos with the IA in them. The IA I see is not ANYTHING like this Basra video. The IA I am seeing looks very much on the way to professionalism. Complete uniforms and gear, unit ID patches, Humv's etc. To compare the two groups is facetious and does a disservice to Iraq.

8:28 AM, January 21, 2008

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nibras, please listen to the video again and again especially what this insurgent was saying. He was cursing Sistani many times. This is why the soldiers wanted to silence him (with a stupid way). The soldiers show their patient for hearing him cursing Sistani times and times again. This is what the insurgent says in Arabic:

يالله اقتلني اقتلني يا جبان

انعل ابوكم و ابو السيستاني و ابو كل كواد بيكم

انتم سفلة و معكم السيستاني

يالله اقتلني

2:06 PM, January 21, 2008

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am holding hundreds , maybe thousands of pictures and videos with the IA in them.
The IA I am seeing looks very much on the way to professionalism. Complete uniforms and gear, unit ID patches, Humv's etc.

Are they wearing discarded American uniforms from Desert Storm, like the debased cowards they are?

3:52 PM, January 21, 2008

Blogger Anand said...

Jarub is spelled "J A R U B" not "J A G U A R B. P."

"Are they wearing discarded American uniforms from Desert Storm, like the debased cowards they are?"

A real Jaguar would say that to the face of an IA soldier. A good one way ticket 'out of this world.'

Name a single Arab army that can hold a candle to the 14th Mechanized IAD (aside from Jordan's)?

That is if rational thought isn't too much for you.

And try not to populate your response with many words such as "Rafidha," "Kaffir," "Salawid" and "Jew"

Nibras, you have my sympathies.

For a short summary of the IA in Al Basrah province:




4:12 PM, January 21, 2008

Blogger bg said...


the film clip is old, not to mention bullshit.. anyone who can't see that is blind.. "smile for the camera", "lets run over here, no, over there, no better shot from over here, no there", "smile for the camera", "now wave", yada, yada, yada.. "where's the enemy, which way did they go, er, scratch that, no enemy, which way should we go".. duh!!


4:22 PM, January 21, 2008

Blogger bg said...


remains me of Keystone Cops film clips.. lol!!


4:33 PM, January 21, 2008

Anonymous Anonymous said...

bg, you don't care about Iraqis. You are just like the Democrats who discuss Iraq to score cheap political points. Iraq doesn't matter to you only winning elections.

6:57 PM, January 21, 2008

Blogger bg said...


Anon @ 6:57 PM..

you don't know didly about me.. just ask Nibras whether or not i care about Iraqis.. he should know me well enough, so i'll trust him to be as honest with you as i am with him..

you could also look up my years of
support for Iraq/is posts @ ITM..

then you can apologize to me,
but i won't hold my breath..


9:22 PM, January 21, 2008

Anonymous Anonymous said...

bg, you are such an idiot. HurraTV is US government funded. This footage is from friday last week. Why would HurraTV lie about what is happening? I bet you loved all the Latin American dictators and thugs that the US funded and protected too.

4:10 PM, January 22, 2008

Blogger section9 said...

A lot of this depends on whether this is IA or the Iraqi Police.

If IA, and if the unit has shown lack of cohesion and discipline, this is unacceptable, and should get some more training. But again, let's not jump to conclusions, as in recent months, the Iraqi Police have shown marked improvement.

Meantime, the sterling reputation of Britain's Royal Army has suffered dramatically in the Arab World, given the fact that Britain's hapless government hamstrung their soldiers. Our own men have fully recovered from the dishonor that was Abu Ghraib and their reputation is well established among Iraqis.

A larger point is the combat capability of the Iraqi Army in the Arab World. Especially in regard to, say, the Persians to the East. Iraq was always regarded by the Arab League as an unofficial "bulwark" against Persian expansionism and any Restorationist impulses on the part of those Iranians who wanted to restore the empire of Cyrus on the backs of the Arabs. Part of America's long strategy is to recreate this, and this is part of what is driving the Iranians to distraction-the creation of a vibrant, strong Arab state on the Persian frontier.

5:05 AM, January 23, 2008

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