Daily Archives: March 31, 2008

Michael Hayden, the CIA director, gave a characteristically candid assessment of Basra on Sunday that is bound to make British ministers and officials wince. The remarks blow a Basra size hole through any pretence that Britain handed over a city that Iraqi authorities were in any position to run.

He said 70 per cent of Basra is “controlled by militia, armed gangs, criminal elements”, adding that it was “a real stew down there”. In his view the reduction in violence — which underpinned Gordon Brown’s justification for the handover — was little more than a temporary stand-off between the armed factions. He finished his answer with this scathing quote: “I don’t think anyone could think that that equilibrium was an acceptable long-term solution.” Read more

Jim Pickard

Interesting interview last week in The Times between reporter Tom Baldwin and George W.Bush. The president of the free world, discussing the US/UK partnership, cited the relationship between Churchill and Roosevelt as well as the more recent one “between Tony Blair and myself”. Not much mention of Gordon Brown.

Which reminds me. I overheard a tour guide at the House of Commons a few days ago talking to his posse of American/European tourists. He asked: “Can anyone tell me who is prime minister of the UK?” Read more