Black Watch leave 'Triangle of Death'

The Black Watch arrived back in Basra yesterday, bringing to an end the regiment's controversial month-long mission to Camp Dogwood near the "Triangle of Death" in central Iraq.

The Black Watch arrived back in Basra yesterday, bringing to an end the regiment's controversial month-long mission to Camp Dogwood near the "Triangle of Death" in central Iraq.

A battle group convoy of more than 200 vehicles arrived at the relative safety of Shaibah Logistics Base, with the returning soldiers dedicating their campaign to the five colleagues who died on the deployment.

The civilian death toll in Iraq also remains a source of concern, and this week an eminent group of nearly 40 ambassadors, military commanders and senior politicians will urge Tony Blair to set up an official inquiry into the question of how many have been killed.

Lord Tim Garden, the former assistant chief of the defence staff, Oliver Miles, the former ambassador to Greece and Sir Menzies Campbell, the Liberal Democrat foreign affairs spokesman, are among the signatories to a letter accusing the Prime Minister of ignoring the fate of tens of thousands of Iraqis thought to have been killed.

The letter, which is expected to be delivered to Downing Street on Wednesday, calls on Mr Blair to examine claims in The Lancet in October that up to 100,000 civilians might have died - chiefly from coalition air strikes. The demand will rekindle a long-running controversy over the lack of authoritative figures on civilian casualties. An independent estimate by the website iraqbodycount, using media reports of casualties and scarce official figures, suggested the toll is at least 16,000.

Ministers and the Iraqi authorities admit they have no clear idea of the death toll but claim that hospital figures show it is as low as 4,000 - a figure widely rejected as inaccurate.

The new campaign for an official inquiry being launched this week will centre on claims that the UK and the United States have broken their legal and moral duty under treaties such as the Geneva Conventions to protect Iraqi civilians.

Mr Miles, whoco-wrote the damaging letter signed by 52 British former diplomats attacking the Government's policies over Palestine and Iraq in April, said that it was "a disgrace" that the coalition had done "nothing" to discover how many Iraqis had died. The initiative, organised by the medical charity Medact and the military think-tank the Oxford Research Group, is also supported by the US civil rights group Human Rights Watch.

A spokesman for Downing Street made no comment in advance of the letter.

* Terry Davis, the leader of the 46-nation Council of Europe, has called on Britain to repeal controversial laws under which 10 foreign terror suspects have been held without trial for nearly three years.

Mr Davis, a former Labour MP, warned that "it is quite wrong to abuse human rights to combat terrorism".

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: English Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is an excellent, large partially ...

Tradewind Recruitment: Science Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...

Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Primary Teacher

£100 - £150 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Teacher Birmingham Jan 2015...

Ashdown Group: Lead Web Developer (ASP.NET, C#) - City of London

£45000 - £50000 per annum + Excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Lead Web Develo...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee