During the incidents of September 19, 2005 in Basra (Iraq), as a result of a confrontation between the British Special Air Service (SAS) and the local police, mainly controlled by the Shiite militia, several civilians were wounded and the local population was outraged. In fact, the two British agents arrested in the shooting were disguised as militiamen who supported Moqtada al-Sadr and in possession of high-tech explosives. The British Headquarters, unhappy about the disclosure of the covert operation, the photos of two prisoner agents who were trying to hide their faces and information that could possibly fall in the hands of local police, decided to launch a violent release action and smashed the walls of the prison with armoured vehicles. Subsequently, images of people from Basra were seen as they rebelled and threw petrol bombs at Her Majesty’s soldiers.
In short, the counter-insurgency psychological operation that was aimed at dividing Iraqi religious groups, the day before a great Shiite rally, had failed, thus revealing the true occupant-occupied relationship and the nature of the Coalition operations in Iraq.
In order to try to re-establish the appearance of sovereignty regarding the responsibility about the incident, the Iraqi puppet government recently demanded a compensation from the Crown for the wounded and damages caused to the police station. The British “tabloid” paper Daily Mail, dated Wednesday, October 12, 2005, for its part mentioned it as an unbearable injustice and an outrage to national pride. It further stated that the two agents had been “kidnapped” and that their lives were threatened. By linking directly Basra police with al-Qaeda, the author considered that “if it had not been by the rescue operation, the two special agents would have been beheaded”.
Besides, the article accused the Iraqis of being responsible for the recent escalation of attacks against the occupation troops, claiming that the Iranian special forces trained those who set the bombs. It also claimed that Iran had opened near the Iraqi border “a post to control the terrorist operations in Southern Iraq”, recalling the usual discourse of the atlantist media as a prelude to massive carpet bombings.
The journalists of the Daily Mail never stop to think that the preparation of the attacks including the one against an Iraqi police station by the British armoured vehicles are acts of war according to international law, and, therefore, are subjected to compensation.