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October 23, 2003
British Patrols Walking Tall in Basra

Here's an update on our staunch British colleagues, winning hearts and minds in southern Iraq:

Battersby's men here in the nation's second-largest city wear soft berets and patrol neighborhoods at a leisurely pace, enjoying a level of contact and trust with residents that still eludes many U.S. units in and around Baghdad. ... But unlike the areas west and north of Baghdad — heavily populated by minority Sunni Muslims, who dominated Iraq under Hussein — there is little public sympathy for the resistance here. Many of the city's residents are Shiite Muslims, who suffered under the former regime and say they are grateful that U.S. and British troops chased Hussein from power.

"We don't say 'leave,' we say 'thank you,' " said Wael Abdulatif, governor of Basra province.

Basra has always been a center of anti-Saddam sentiment, and of course Basra is also where an insurrection was attempted after the first Gulf War in the hopes that the coalition would come to its aid. The British seem to be overcoming the mistrust and feelings of betrayal that were feared to remain strong in the area after the insurrection collapsed. Read the whole article.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at October 23, 2003 5:41 AM

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