Tuesday, September 20, 2005

What is an undercover soldier? (Updated)

* * * Update * * *

The picture is becoming a little clearer...

Two UK servicemen are back with British forces after troops staged a dramatic rescue mission at an Iraqi jail.

Basra governor, Mohammed al-Waili, said British soldiers used more than 10 tanks and helicopters to break down the walls and free the pair, thought to be special forces officers.

He said they had been arrested for allegedly shooting dead a local policeman and wounding another.

Starting to make more sense now. The rescue operation sounds like something the Brits would do, also. However, if you read the article, the police moving the officers from a jail to a house sounds fishy. If I remember correctly, Stephen Vincent made some interesting observations about the local Basra police forces in his In The Red Zone blog, before he was murdered.

* * * Original Post 7:49PM 09/19/05 * * * * *

Thanks to the fine Nashville Is Talking blog, we get a link to this story:

BASRA, Iraq (Reuters) - Violence erupted in Basra on Monday after Iraqi authorities said they had detained two British undercover soldiers in the southern city for firing on Iraqi police.

Go read the whole thing, then answer me this...

What is an undercover soldier?

A soldier, out of uniform and conducting operations, British or otherwise, is... a SPY! Subject to summary execution.

So these two blokes were driving along in a civilian car (nothing wrong with that, soldier or no), in civilian clothes (Tommie, contractor, spy, or what?), and get into a gun battle with an Iraqi Police patrol. And get captured! And taken to jail.

That story in itself is enough to make you ask 'What is wrong with this picture?' But wait, there's more, from this Reuters story:
BASRA, Iraq (Reuters) - British tanks smashed the walls of an Iraqi prison to free two undercover British soldiers seized earlier on Monday by Iraqi forces, an Interior Ministry official said.
The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said half a dozen tanks had crushed the walls of the jail in the southern city of Basra and British troops then freed the soldiers. The governor of Basra confirmed the jail had been broken into

It's going to be interesting to see what really happened in Basra.

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