Mayasan - A Small Battle in the Media War

[i]"As the British increase their forces in Afghanistan, they are drawing down in Iraq. Although the drawdown in Iraq is based on pragmatism, the enemy apparently is attempting to create the perception of a military rout. So while the British reduce their forces in southern Iraq, they are coming under heavier fire and the enemy makes claims of driving “the occupiers” out.

In reality, the Brits were about to transfer authority over the Maysan Province to the Iraqi government. Thus, the day’s purpose, although seemingly more ceremonial in nature, was to counterpunch in the perception war, by focusing on the progress being made by the Iraqi Security Forces in the region. Some of the biggest battles in Iraq today are being fought not with bombs and bullets, but with cameras and keyboards. For whatever reasons—and there are many—today, when Western media is most needed here, it’s nearly gone."[/i]

Michael Yon is one of, if not the best, writer covering this war theater. And he’s an independent.

Brit progress in Afghanistan…Taliban middle management jobs opening up on a daily basis…and thats a good thing.

[quote] Taliban ‘stalled by lack of commanders’
by Thomas Harding in Lashkah Gah
Last Updated: 2:20am BST 24/05/2007

The Taliban’s much-vaunted spring offensive has stalled apparently due to lack of organisation after dozens of middle-ranking commanders were killed by British troops in the past year, according to military sources.

The death last week of the key Taliban leader Mullah Dadullah at the hands of American special forces has harmed the Taliban’s morale to the point that local commanders are having to tell their troops to “remain professional” despite the loss.

After suffering more than 1,000 dead in battles with the Parachute Regiment and Royal Marines in the last year, the Taliban retired to regroup and re-equip last winter.

A spring offensive was ordered by the Taliban leadership based in Quetta, Pakistan, and was meant to be launched in late March.

But a lack of mid-level commanders has meant that there has been little co-ordination to bring about the offensive.

“They are getting strategic guidance from Quetta but this is not translating on the ground,” a military source said.

“It’s a bit premature to discuss the Taliban as a spent force. I believe that they are struggling but still maintain a capability to carry out attacks on a daily basis. But I would suggest in the long term the Taliban may just peter out.”

Of the five main Taliban leaders who managed to escape in the 2001 fighting only two are at large, including Mullah Omar, the spiritual leader, who is living on the Pakistan border.

British commanders are still braced for a possible upsurge in attacks over the summer.

An “increase in enemy tempo” is expected and already the number of clashes has risen from five a day to 15, lasting from 10 minutes to 11 hours.

Within Helmand there is a small group of “irreconcilable” Taliban leading a force of about 1,000, which is reinforced by Chechen, Arab and Uzbek fighters. Some are part-time farmers supplementing their income by earning $25 a day by fighting.

After clearing and establishing a foothold in the area the British force has been able to begin rebuilding roads and other projects. They have also dispelled some Taliban propaganda that claimed the British would rape their women and steal their poppy crops.

• Afghanistan’s most famous woman MP has been thrown out of the country’s parliament for saying that her fellow parliamentarians are less competent than farmyard animals.

MPs voted by a large majority to suspend Malalai Joya, 29, until the end of the current parliament in 2010 after her remarks were broadcast in an interview on Afghan television.

During the interview broadcast on Tolo TV, Miss Joya said that her fellow legislators were: “worse than cows or donkeys”. Comparisons to donkeys are considered particularly hurtful in Afghan culture.[/quote]


Michael Yon is one of, if not the best, writer covering this war theater. And he’s an independent.[/quote]

I totally concur.
Awesome stuff!
Well written, and acutely observed from the thick of the thang!

Yep, that’s the way to do it- have a handover ceremony, lots of handshakes and photo ops, and then get the f**k out of Dodge.

Of course, the Brits haven’t actually run security in Maysan since August 2006, when, due to to their inability to keep patrolling in Amarah (the capital) and constant mortar attacks on their base, they did the midnight flit- left so quickly that the Provincial Gov’t claimed that they hadn’t been informed of their “redeployment” to the isolated borders, and their former base was totally looted. To be fair, the British claimed they had given the Iraqi authorities 24-hour notice of their bailing from their mission.

In October last year, Amarah was the scene of fighting between the Mahdi Army and the Maysan police aka the Badr Brigades- neighborhoods overrun, police stations burned- which both the British and the Iraqi Army sat out until a deal was struck with Moqtada al-Sadr to allow the Iraqi security forces in.

Nice picture of British General Shaw shaking hands with Governor Maliki, of Moqtada al-Sadr’s party, also identified as a “former” commander of the Mahdi Army.

So the British have handed control over Maysan to Mookie al-Sadr and are bugging out- a wise move, and a lesson to all.

from the 1st article
And so on 18 April 2007, Maysan Province was officially being turned over to Iraqi authority during a ceremony denoting the handover to “PIC”: Provincial Iraqi Control. Media coverage was critical to this event.

C’mon MikeN…at least read the articles before starting your spinn…you’re looking silly.