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Chaos In Iraq

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More on the story behind that photo of a British soldier in flames that John posted below. If you didn't see that image and only read the NYT, you'd believe this: British soldiers working under cover were arrested by Iraqi police. When officials refused to hand them over to the coalition forces, the soldiers were "freed as a British armored vehicle blasted through the wall of their jail." Sounds sketchy and not good -- but wait until you read the Independent's far more explosive version:

British troops were struggling to maintain control in Basra last night after the city exploded into bloody violence following the alleged killing of an Iraqi policeman by a British soldier.

Two British servicemen, dressed in civilian clothes, were held at Basra's main police station after the incident. Outside, rioting began as the city threatened to descend into anarchy.

Last night, British forces used up to 10 tanks - supported by helicopters - to smash through the walls of the jail and free the two British servicemen. John Reid, the Defence Secretary, later confirmed they were back with UK forces.

Around 150 prisoners were said to have escaped during the assault, which was condemned as "barbaric, savage and irresponsible" by Mohammed al-Waili, the provincial governor. But the Ministry of Defence disputed the claim, saying that the release of the soldiers had been "negotiated".
British troops using massive force to free soldiers being held by their allies? Sparking a riot in a major city and freeing dozens of Iraqi prisoners in the process? This is a tipping point for the UK's commitment to Iraq. Another word for it? Chaos.

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