News he giant Rumaila oilfield, near Basra, produces a third of Iraq's oil output. The British security man allegedly at the centre of religious unrest works at a camp run by oil services group Schlumberger

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

The final battle for Basra is near, says Iraqi general

General Mohan al-Furayji, the Iraqi commander in charge of security in the south of Iraq, has warned his troops they must prepare for the final battle to defeat the Shia militias terrorising Basra.

Days Of Significance, Tricycle Theatre, London

Roy Williams's Days of Significance was one of the most powerful plays of last year, but it had a disappointingly limited run when it premiered at the Swan Theatre in Stratford. So it's good to report that Maria Aberg's excellent RSC production has now resurfaced at the Tricycle, in a revised version with a much more dramatically effective third act.

Our legacy is a dark and forbidding place of militias

The siren for an impending attack went off three times in three hours yesterday, with anti-missile guns roaring in response while soldiers dived for cover. This was no over-reaction – the base at Basra airport had been hit by rockets a day earlier. British troops have withdrawn from their one remaining base in Basra City and are highly unlikely to take part in direct fighting again. Five years after the start of the war, the beginning of the end comes with little fanfare.

Partick Cockburn: A gross failure that ignored history and ended with a humiliating retreat

The war in Iraq has been one of the most disastrous wars ever fought by Britain. It has been small but we achieved nothing. It will stand with Crimea and the Boer War as conflicts which could have been avoided and were demonstrations of incompetence from start to finish.

Defence minister visits Iraq troops

Defence Secretary Des Browne arrived in Basra this morning on an unannounced visit to British troops in Iraq.

Grim reminder of reality as RAF man dies in Basra

A British airman was killed in a rocket attack on the military base at Basra airport in southern Iraq on Friday night, the Ministry of Defence confirmed yesterday.

Blair went to war on a lie, law lords told

The mothers of two teenage soldiers killed in Iraq accused Tony Blair's government of going to war "on a lie" as they took their fight for a public inquiry into the conflict to the House of Lords.

British photojournalist and his interpreter kidnapped

A British photojournalist and his interpreter have been kidnapped in Basra, it was disclosed last night.

So, what did we achieve? After four years and 174 dead, Britain's lead role in Basra is over

As responsibility for security is formally passed to theIraqis today, Raymond Whitaker examines what, if anything,our armed forces have accomplished there since 2003

The Big Question: Have the bans on smoking in public places been a success?

Why are we asking this question now?

How the ruling changes settlements

Who will be affected by yesterday's ruling?

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