Adventures in self-government

The British government is not confirming the story, but it looks like there are witnesses. Apparently the Iraqi police arrested two British undercover agents in Basra because they "looked suspicious." When the British requested their release, the Iraqi police objected and said they wanted to continue their investigation. At this point, it seems, the British army sent tanks to the prison where the two agents were held and used them to break down the walls of the prison, freeing their agents and whatever other prisoners managed to get to the hole in the wall in time. Said British defence secretary John Reid, no doubt suppressing a giggle, "We remain committed to helping the Iraqi government for as long as they judge that a coalition presence is necessary to provide security." There may have been a subtext to his statement.


T K Vogel said...

I love it when undervocer agents "look suspicious." Kind of defies the purpose, no?

Eric Gordy said...

I've heard a couple of versions of what made these undercover agents so suspicious. One (heard this on BBC last night) is that they were wearing traditional Arab dress, which I guess it would follow must not be a usual practice in Basra. The other (I saw this on one weblog, sourced to CNN) was that they were firing weapons in a crowded area, which would probably make anyone suspicious. Then of course there is this business of getting out of jail in an action-adventure movie stunt, that has to raise suspicion.
Here is a reconstruction of events by BBC: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/4263648.stm