BASRA, IRAQ — A British raid of a police station in Basra is bringing forth questions of the degree of Iraqi independence. The Guardian reports that British forces stormed Jamiat prison, to free 127 prisoners, many of whom British forces feared would be killed or were falsely imprisoned.

The BBC reports that the head of city council of Basra has called this operation illegal, saying that the council had not been informed of the raid.

It’s noteworthy that Basra is one of the areas the British hoped to leave for Iraqi forces to secure, as a first test of how prepared Iraqi forces are to handle security on their own. Foreign Secretary Beckett has said that British forces could be out of Basra province by spring.

This raid and the Iraqi response seems to be a vote of no confidence on the part of the British, on how well Iraqis can secure their own freedom. It’s yet another confirmation that Iraq is not an independent democracy. After all, Iraqi President Talabani invited to Iranian envoys, who have been detained by US forces.

It’s clear that Iran is not a favored player by occupying forces, however if Iraq can create stability through its contacts with Iran, this should be allowed. Also, the US clearly favors Iraqi PM Maliki over President Talabani, but again, if Talabani can bring peace, this should be allowed. But Iraq is not a free country.

Dmitri Marine blogs on Blogue North

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