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British Troops Begin Move North


Guest Lottie

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A British force has begun moving out of the southern Iraqi city of Basra in a move north to take over operations previously carried out by US forces.

The 850-strong battle group led by the 1st Battalion The Black Watch is moving into an area south of Baghdad seen as among the most hostile in the country.

About 8,000 UK troops will remain stationed in southern Iraq.

The UK agreed last week to Washington's request for the redeployment, which has been controversial in Britain.

Critics say it is a political move ahead of the US presidential election - a charge denied by the government.

The group being redeployed will comprise three companies of armoured infantry from the 1st Battalion The Black Watch, with some 500 men and 50 Warrior armoured fighting vehicles.

They will be supported by a reconnaissance unit from the largely-Welsh Queen's Dragoon Guards, with around 100 men and 12 Scimitar armoured fvehicles, and a 50-strong Royal Marine light infantry unit from 40 Commando.

There will also be support troops including engineers, logisticians, signallers and medics.

The Black Watch, which traditionally recruits from Perthshire, Angus and Fife, is based in Warminster, Wiltshire.

BBC correspondent Ben Brown, in Basra, said the troops were aware of the controversy over the move but remained "proud to have been asked to do this mission, that they see it as a new challenge in a new part of Iraq".

He said: "They have seen quite a lot of action here and although it may be more dangerous where they are going, they say they are fully prepared for it."

In other developments:

The militant group led by Abu-Musab al-Zarqawi, which killed British engineer Ken Bigley, has threatened to kill a Japanese hostage if Tokyo fails to withdraw troops within 48 hours. Shosei Koda, 24, is thought have been sightseeing in Iraq

The Pentagon has confirmed it is considering boosting US troop numbers in Iraq. The extra forces would provide extra security in the run up to the Iraqi election, scheduled for January.

The area south of Baghdad where British troops are to begin operating includes towns like Mahmoudia and Latifiya.

From Baghdad, BBC correspondent Paul Wood said: "These are very, very tough places, with a mixture of nationalists, Baathists and Islamists very hostile to any coalition presence.

"They have put constant pressure on the American troops who are now leaving those locations to go to take part in the fight for Falluja."

Ben Brown suggested the British troops might adopt a "more restrained... more softly, softly style of soldiering" than the Americans they were replacing.

"They think that has got results down here in the south," he said.

"They think they have made more progress with the local community than perhaps the Americans have further north."

He added: "There is a suspicion that the Americans are too aggressive, too confrontational.

"They always wear helmets and big sunglasses; the British try to wear berets wherever they can and appear to be more friendly.

"Whether that will be a luxury in these towns like Mahmoudia and Latifiya, which are pretty lawless, pretty scary places... we will have to wait and see over the coming weeks of this mission".

Prime Minister Tony Blair has said the Black Watch will be home for Christmas.

But Ben Brown said that promise did not preclude other British troops from taking over from them, especially if the American marines, who they are replacing, run into difficulties in Falluja.

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  • Talon

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I wish they'd stop saying 'British troops', lets get down to it, its Scottish trooops, we're an ethnic minrity yet we're always first in last out. Its because no matter how many of us die it won't cost any votes for Blair in England next elections. We're an inferior race after all, 'leeching off their economy'.

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I wish they'd stop saying 'British troops', lets get down to it, its Scottish trooops, we're an ethnic minrity yet we're always first in last out. Its because no matter how many of us die it won't cost any votes for Blair in England next elections. We're an inferior race after all, 'leeching off their economy'.

Well. Until Scotland gets total independence from the rest of the UK 'British' troops is exactly what they are. Flying the Scottish flag and going around Iraq calling themselves "Scottish soldiers" didn't cut any ice with Iraqi people and nor does it here either...Apart from being a bloody whinging nuisance to the British army in general.

On another point: Considering that many members of the cabinet are Scottish...I don't think you have much to worry about in respect of New Labour policy...Scots have a pretty high standard of living in comparison to the rest of the UK.

We English are not permitted to vote on Scottish issues but the Scots do have a voice and a vote in what happens to the English. . Sort of like the minority imposing itself on the majority really. But hey, as long as you can do what you've been doing for centuries (crying) and blaming the English for all of Scotlands problems then you'll always gonna get the false sympathy you so greatly desire.

Vimjams

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Scots have a pretty high standard of living in comparison to the rest of the UK.

We English are not permitted to vote on Scottish issues but the Scots do have a voice and a vote in what happens to the English.

Vinjams

Scotland is by far the poorest of all the home nations, the highest levels of social deprivation in the UK are seen in the major scottish cities.

Erm....

The British parliament is held in London , scottish MPs can vote in the British parliament.

As i recall the north of england was giving the chance of devolution and rejected it 3-1.

Flying the Scottish flag and going around Iraq calling themselves "Scottish soldiers" didn't cut any ice with Iraqi people and nor does it here either...Apart from being a bloody whinging nuisance to the British army in general.

What are you talking about?

I dont agree with talon about the seperation of the union however your daft rant there says it all.

You do know that the Black watch is the highest decorated regiment in the entire british army....some "bloody nuisance".

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.Apart from being a bloody whinging nuisance to the British army in general.

Who happen to be part of the British army rolleyes.gif

Scots have a pretty high standard of living in comparison to the rest of the UK.

Scotland is poverty stricken compared to the rest of the country. I don't know where you seem to get your information from.

But hey, as long as you can do what you've been doing for centuries (crying) and blaming the English for all of Scotlands problems then you'll always gonna get the false sympathy you so greatly desire.

Vijams you come across as such a racist by making comments like this and in the past. Fortunately you are in a minority of English who feel this way. The Scots have 'back bone', something english lack.

Edited by Lottie
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vimjams will you drop the bloody racism

If you ever bothering reading anything about Scotland, you'd find out we have been rated year after year as having the worst health in Europe, in due part to having the worst living conditions in the UK and the most unemployment in the UK. Trust me, membership if this joke state Britain does us no favours.

As for Scottish / English affairs blah blah blah, like to remind you, you've been dictating laws to us for 300 years, funny you suddenly think its unfair now its reversed.

If we're such a whinging nuisance, then why don't you send some English into the area, instead of expecting 800 Celts who have been supplied so little equipment they are walking around will tamy-shanters instead of helmets to replace 4000 heavily equipped Americans. The Black Watch had done their tour of duty and was due to go home at the same time as a group of English units. I find it beyond coincidence that the English units are all in England right now, and the expendible 'Jocks' who in your words are nothing more than a 'nuisance' are under equipped, under manned in one of the most dangerous places in the Middle East. And to add to the drama, guess what race the two units lined up to replace them are.... uh... er... could it be more celts. YEP! For those in the US, tis would be the equivalent of sending in an undermanned unit (which the government planned on dismantling after this was done) into a war zone, and it just so happened, by pure 'coincidence' that every one of them was native American or black.

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The Scots have 'back bone', something english lack.

If that isn't racist then I don't know what is

Lottie's from London rolleyes.gif

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From Lottie

The Scots have 'back bone', something english lack.

If that isn't racist then I don't know what is

357076[/snapback]

No I don't think so...Seeing as I have lived in London for the past 27 years and have Scottish family who live down here also, I think I have a valid point seeing as I have seen first hand the minority who have racist attitudes towards the Scots with the pathetic 'Scots' jokes, the snidey remarks...all done behind one's back because in reality they would never say it to your face...

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I wish they'd stop saying 'British troops', lets get down to it, its Scottish trooops, we're an ethnic minrity yet we're always first in last out. Its because no matter how many of us die it won't cost any votes for Blair in England next elections. We're an inferior race after all, 'leeching off their economy'.

The above is Talon's comments about the matter that my response is accused of being racist. How easy it must be for some people to forget themselves.

Now, as an Englishman, I would not have said anything at all if it were not for the veiled and (not so veiled) racism which lies at the heart of his remarks..."leeching off their country"..."I wish they'd stop saying 'British troops'...its Scottish trooops"

Lottie and Talon...I'm not being racist at all. And I've said this to you before Talon...You ought to look closely at what it is you are saying. Your 'racist' call is just typical of those people who like to deflect the stupidity of their own ideas by quickly pointing the finger at others who respond.

Lottie...

Vijams you come across as such a racist by making comments like this and in the past. Fortunately you are in a minority of English who feel this way. The Scots have 'back bone', something english lack.

Would that be all English have no "back bone" or just the minority who (like yourself) make these racist comments?

And Talon

If you ever bothering reading anything about Scotland

I have some very close friends from Dundee and Perth and have lived there off and on. I am regarded by my proud to be Scottish friends (Scottish Nationalists among them) as an English gentleman and a few years ago, I was presented with an honoury Scottish passport. A joke I grant you but nevertheless, this act was intended to represent something deeper.

So Talon...I repeat: Stop your whinging and stop your racist attacks on the English.

Vimjams

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Would that be all English have no "back bone" or just the minority who (like yourself) make these racist comments?

Actually Vijams, if you notice I underlined minority just so people understood that I did not mean the whole of England.

As for being racist...I think thats your forte considering the posts I have seen where you constantly make derogatory remarks about the Scottish.

Edited by Lottie
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Thistle...Please: A point of order here.

Lottie: You underline 'minority' in reference to making a claim about English racists...Your own remark about the English having no "back bone" does not stipulate anything other than all English , which I take to be outrightly racist! But...I don't care...I'm not going to report you to the police.

I've actually only posted four items in respect of Scottish issues and in response to Talon's remarks...This post being the fourth.

As for being racist...I think thats your forte considering the posts I have seen where you constantly make derogatory remarks about the Scottish.

The above statement of your does, under the circumstances, appears to be grossly exaggerated and very misleading.

Vimjams

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That's enough, this thread is not here to exchange anti-english / anti-scottish comments.

Remember that whether you consider them to be 'Scottish' or 'British' troops, they are currently risking their lives in Iraq and they deserve the support and respect of everyone here. Arguing over their nationality is totally besides the point.

Let's get this back on topic please.

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I wish they'd stop saying 'British troops', lets get down to it, its Scottish trooops, we're an ethnic minrity yet we're always first in last out. Its because no matter how many of us die it won't cost any votes for Blair in England next elections. We're an inferior race after all, 'leeching off their economy'.

The above is Talon's comments about the matter that my response is accused of being racist. How easy it must be for some people to forget themselves.

Now, as an Englishman, I would not have said anything at all if it were not for the veiled and (not so veiled) racism which lies at the heart of his remarks..."leeching off their country"..."I wish they'd stop saying 'British troops'...its Scottish trooops"

Lottie and Talon...I'm not being racist at all. And I've said this to you before Talon...You ought to look closely at what it is you are saying. Your 'racist' call is just typical of those people who like to deflect the stupidity of their own ideas by quickly pointing the finger at others who respond.

Oh grow up, nothing I said was racist, they ARE Scottish troops, and I've heard plenty of people including yourself in another thread accuse of us of 'leeching' off the system, so I have cause justification for beleiving this is a politically motivated move because our deaths wont matter next election.

So Talon...I repeat: Stop your whinging and stop your racist attacks on the English.

Again, I've said nothing racist, only concerns about the Government's thinking.

Lottie: You underline 'minority' in reference to making a claim about English racists...Your own remark about the English having no "back bone" does not stipulate anything other than all English , which I take to be outrightly racist! But...I don't care...I'm not going to report you to the police.

Despite that she lives in England? huh.gif

Remember that whether you consider them to be 'Scottish' or 'British' troops, they are currently risking their lives in Iraq and they deserve the support and respect of everyone here. Arguing over their nationality is totally besides the point.

But it is the point. We're not arguing they aren't doung their duty or whether the war should end, its about placement of ethnic minorities in war zones. huh.gif

That's enough, this thread is not here to exchange anti-english / anti-scottish comments.

Depite what vimjams claims, nothing I've said is racist, just concern for my people's treatment by Westminster. sad.gif

Back on topic please

Okay

Back on Topic:

Service for Black Watch soldier

The second funeral for one of three Black Watch soldiers killed in a suicide attack in Iraq is being held in Fife on Wednesday.

The service for Private Paul Lowe, 19, will take place in Kelty Parish Church, Kelty at 1330 GMT.

Pte Lowe died along with Sergeant Stuart Gray, 31, and Private Scott McArdle, 22, in the blast at a vehicle checkpoint on 4 November.

A service took place on Tuesday for Pte McArdle in his home town of Glenrothes.

More than 500 people attended the 90-minute service and the Black Watch's most senior officer, Lieutenant General Alistair Irwin, said Pte McArdle was a fine young man who had made his mark on the regiment.

The car bomb which claimed the lives of the three soldiers also killed an Iraqi interpreter and injured eight other troops.

It was the first suicide attack to kill British troops in Iraq.

Story from BBC NEWS:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/scotland/4017699.stm

MoD names soldier killed in Iraq

The soldier killed by a roadside bomb in Iraq on Monday has been named by the Ministry of Defence.

Pte Pita Tukatukawaqa, 27, of the 1st Battalion The Black Watch died when his Warrior armoured vehicle was hit near Camp Dogwood, south-west of Baghdad.

The Black Watch battle group was developing its tactics to counter such attacks, it said in a statement.

Pte Tukatukawaqa, who was married and from Fiji, was the fourth UK soldier to die in attacks over the past five days.

The statement said Pte Tukatukawaqa, who joined the Black Watch in March 2001, was a "trained sniper and an outstanding sportsman" who had served in Kosovo and Iraq.

He would be "dearly missed by his regiment and his friends", it said.

The Black Watch battle group has been urgently reviewing tactics after Pte Tukatukawaqa's death in the third attack on Camp Dogwood troops in five days.

The scale of the casualties and the attacks' "intensity and sophistication" have led to "searching questions", the BBC's David Loyn earlier said, from the camp.

He said the practice of troops going into villages in soft berets to gather information was being re-evaluated.

But Black Watch spokesman Capt Stuart Macauley said the troops were "more determined".

'We're staying'

Lance Corporal Danny Buist, 29, from Arbroath, said: "We don't want to go anywhere. If we pulled out now, we'd feel like we've failed.

"It's a hindrance when people at home call for us to be pulled out. We know they're only trying to help, but it's not helping us at all.

"We're here, we're staying, so please give us the support to carry on and get the job done."

Warrior commander Lance Corporal Lee Walker, 22, from Perth, added: "Obviously there's a little bit of fear there when you go out now after what's happened, it's fear of the unknown.

"But nobody wants to leave a job half done and that's the same for all the lads out here. We want to complete the mission."

'Sophisticated enemy'

"While we mourn a lost colleague, the whole battle group has just been made more determined by this to complete our important mission," he said.

In Monday's incident, a Warrior armoured vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb just after dark, killing Pte Tukatukawaqa instantly and injuring two others.

David Loyn said the blast was powerful enough to blow the vehicle off the road, taking the wheels off one side.

He said flares immediately lit up the night sky around Camp Dogwood as the Black Watch battle group took up defensive positions to prevent any follow-up attacks by mortars or rockets.

It followed two suicide car bomb attacks - one on Sunday, in which two bomb disposal experts were injured, and one last Thursday in which three soldiers died.

Our correspondent said the Black Watch was under almost daily attacks and "now know that they are facing a much more sophisticated enemy than when they first came up here".

A Downing Street spokesman said on Monday night: "Our thoughts are with the Black Watch battle group and their families after this incident.

"As the prime minister said this afternoon, we salute their dedication, professionalism and sheer courage."

Scottish National Party leader Alex Salmond said: "I have nothing but admiration for the bravery and conduct of our Scottish soldiers, and nothing but contempt for the politicians who placed them in this deployment in the full knowledge of what would happen."

Leg injuries

Earlier on Monday two soldiers from the Royal Logistics Corps and the Royal Signals, who had been deployed at the camp, were treated in Germany for serious leg injuries sustained in Sunday's suicide bomb attack.

They were said to be in a stable condition after being flown from Iraq.

They had been serving with the Black Watch group in a bomb disposal unit when their vehicle was rammed by a bomber.

The Black Watch battle group includes an armoured reconnaissance from B Squadron, Queen's Dragoon Guards, elements of 40 Commando Royal Marines, and supporting specialists from the Royal Engineers, Royal Logistic Corps, Royal Electrical & Mechanical Engineers, and Royal Military Police.

It was redeployed to Camp Dogwood, 20 miles (32km) from Baghdad, on 27 October, while US Marines prepared for their assault on Falluja.

Black Watch soldiers have blocked off a key bridge on the eastern bank of the River Euphrates in an effort to stop fighters and weapons being moved by Sunni insurgents.

Story from BBC NEWS:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/uk/3994627.stm

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But it is the point. We're not arguing they aren't doung their duty or whether the war should end, its about placement of ethnic minorities in war zones.

There is nothing about a debate on 'ethnic minorities in war zones' in the original post whatsoever. That only started because you expressed annoyance at them being referred to as 'British' instead of 'Scottish'.

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Yeah, but that was in refrence to them being Scottish, not to start an Scotland vs England debate. Its Westminster I'm saying is behind this, not the English.

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