At a time of tremendous religious significance for the Shia, the insensitive actions of a British security man appear to have sparked a major crisis
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Sunday 23 November 2008
Originally broadcast a year ago in a Channel 4 documentary of the same name, The Not Dead is a short collection of war poems written, not in battle, but as a response to the testimonies of ex-soldiers featured in the programme. As Simon Armitage points out in his eloquent, self-effacing introduction, time is no "great healer" for people scarred by war. One of the former soldiers in the documentary is still unable to talk without crying about a jungle ambush he took part in nearly 50 years previously in Malaya.
Friday 21 November 2008
The golden days of luxury and excess for record labels and their artists may be over, but 50C heat in a war zone are officially the most dangerous conditions for recording an album ever. Indeed, a tent on the Iraqi frontline is where the pipers and drummers of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards succeeded in making the world's most dangerous CD.
Friday 10 October 2008
When I was a young boy growing up in rural Pakistan, my grandfather would entertain me with stories of a man called Abu Zayd. He was a rascal who roamed from place to place conning people with his wit and stunning use of language. Each story began with Abu Zayd giving an eloquent sermon in the mosque or the bazaar. "How long will you persist with your folly?" he would ask the people who gathered around him. "How long will you cheat, steal, and do and eat all those things that God has forbidden? How long will you be greedy and chase material goods?" He never failed to impress, both by his message and his oratory; some gave him money and thanked him, others he would cheat. But Abu Zayd lived a life of luxury in a cave, with his two wives, where he greedily consumed forbidden things and did exactly what he had denounced in the bazaar.
Friday 15 August 2008
The majority of British troops serving in Iraq will be withdrawn by the middle of next year because the southern port city of Basra - where they are based - is booming, it was claimed today.
Sunday 03 August 2008
Sunday 03 August 2008
British commanders in Iraq made an astonishing secret deal with a Shia prisoner to withdraw from Basra which left the city at the mercy of criminal gangs, one of the UK's senior military officers serving in Iraq has said.
Wednesday 23 July 2008
Britain's five-year military campaign in Iraq could be over by the spring, Gordon Brown signalled yesterday as he outlined a "fundamental change of mission" for British forces to restore "normal" relations with the war-torn country. The 4,100-strong British deployment in Basra could be reduced to a few hundred troops under plans to bring relations with Iraq into line with other Middle Eastern nations such as Oman and Jordan.
Tuesday 22 July 2008
Gordon Brown prepared the way today for significant troop cuts in Iraq next year as British forces finish their work training the Iraqi army.
Tuesday 22 July 2008
Gordon Brown should abandon any hope of pulling all British troops out of Iraq before the next general election, MPs say in a report published today.
Monday 21 July 2008
Monday 14 July 2008
It has been a miserable few days for the reputation of the British armed forces. Last week the Ministry of Defence agreed to pay almost £3m to the families of nine Iraqis who were tortured in British custody in Basra in 2003. This was followed at the weekend by news of a military investigation into accusations from an Iraqi teenager that he was sexually abused by British soldiers during the same period. This all points to an outrageous breakdown in discipline among our armed forces after the fall of Baghdad five years ago.
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