2 | November 25 - December 1 2009
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Hostage video plea The Chandlers say their captors will kill them within the week
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EXPAT LIFE P30-31
Special report Taking a look at some property options for retirement abroad
The chocolate war Cadbury’s in play as Hershey and Ferrero confirm interest
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There was one winner of Wednesday’s £2.1m jackpot but no one won Saturday’s £4.9m prize
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Dispatches For the latest news on serving British soldiers telegraph.co.uk/frontline
Continued from page 1 “whitewash”. The documents comprise dozens of “postoperational reports” written by commanders at all levels, plus two sharply worded “overall lessons learnt” papers – on the war phase and on the occupation – compiled by the Army centrally.
The analysis of the war phase describes it as a “significant military success”, but one achieved against a “third-rate army”. It identifies a long list of “significant” weaknesses and notes: “A more capable enemy would probably have punished these shortcomings severely.”
The analysis of the occupation describes British reconstruction plans as “nugatory” and “hopelessly optimistic”.
It says that coalition forces were “ill-prepared and equipped to deal with the problems in the first 100 days” of the occupation, which turned out to be “the defining stage of the campaign”. It condemns the almost complete absence of contingency planning as a potential breach of Geneva Convention obligations to safeguard civilians.
The leaked documents bring into question statements that Mr Blair made to Parliament in the build-up to the invasion. On July 16 2002, amid growing media speculation about Britain’s future role in Iraq, Mr Blair was asked: “Are we then preparing for possible military action in Iraq?” He replied: “No.”
Introducing the dossier on Iraq’s supposed weapons of mass destruction, on September 24 2002, Mr Blair told MPs: “In respect of any military options, we are not at the stage of deciding those options but, of course, it is important — should we get to that point — that we have the fullest possible discussion of
Tony Blair addressing British troops in Basra after the invasion
those options.” In fact, according to the documents, “formation-level planning for a [British] deployment [to Iraq] took place from February 2002”.
The documents also quote Maj Gen Graeme Lamb, the director of special forces during the Iraq war, as saying: “I had been working the war up since early 2002.”
The leaked material also includes sheaves of classified verbatim transcripts of one-toone interviews with commanders recently returned from Iraq – many critical of the Whitehall failings, which were becoming clear. At least four commanders use the same word – “appalling” – to describe the performance of the Foreign Office and Ministry of Defence.
They describe the “inability to restore security early
during the occupation” and the “absence of UK political direction” after the war ended.
One quotes a senior British officer as saying: “The UK Government, which spent millions of pounds on resourcing the security line of operations, spent virtually none on the economic one, on which security depended.”
Many of the documents leaked to The Telegraph deal with key questions for Sir John and his committee, such as whether planning was adequate, troops properly equipped and the occupation mishandled, and will almost certainly be seen by the inquiry. However, it is not clear whether they will be published by it. ÞA selection of the documents will be published on Andrew Gilligan’s blog at www.telegraph.co.uk/blogs
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By Andrew Gilligan
THE deep hostility of Britain’s senior military commanders towards their American allies in Iraq is disclosed in the classified government documents leaked to The Telegraph.
In a Ministry of Defence (MoD) interview, Col J K Tanner, the British chief of staff in Iraq, described his American counterparts as “Martians” for whom “dialogue is alien”.
He added: “Despite our socalled ‘special relationship’, I reckon we were treated no differently to the Portuguese.”
Col Tanner’s boss, Maj Gen Andrew Stewart, the top British operational commander in Iraq, told how he spent “a significant amount of my time” “evading” and “refusing” orders from his American superiors.
The frank statements were made in official interviews conducted by the MoD with Army commanders who had just returned from Operations Telic 2 and 3, the first crucial year of “peacekeeping” operations in Iraq, from May 2003 to May 2004.
They paint a vivid picture of a clash between what Maj Gen Stewart described as “war-war” American commanders and their British counterparts, who preferred a “jaw-jaw” approach.
Col Tanner added: “We managed to get on better with our European partners and, at times, with the Arabs than with the Americans. Europeans chat to each other, whereas dialogue is alien to the US military.
“Dealing with them corporately is akin to dealing with a group of Martians.”
By Benedict Brogan
BRITISH forces will pull out of Germany for good, nearly 70 years after the Allied victory in the Second World War, as part of a defence ‘‘revolution’’ being drawn up by the Conservatives.
Dr Liam Fox, the shadow defence secretary, told The Telegraph that ending Britain’s 25,000-strong military presence on the Rhine would be part of a fundamental reorganisation of Nato forces designed to free troops for military operations outside Europe.
The decision would close one of the unfinished chapters of the last war, that saw the British military go from an occupying force in the ruins of Nazi Germany in
1945 to guarantor of German security against Soviet invasion during the Cold War.
Dr Fox’s decision to call time on Britain’s military links with Germany is a signal of his determination to force through a “wholesale recasting of our foreign and defence policy”.
He also called for the public to be told the truth about the “cost of defeat” in Afghanistan, including Britain being relegated to “the third division” of world politics. He gave warning that setting a timetable for withdrawal would “tell our allies that we quit if the going gets tough and it says to our enemies that they may be able to outlast us”.
Generations of soldiers and their families have passed
through Germany, where the British presence has had a profound economic and cultural impact on garrison towns. It is now centred on the 1st Armoured Division in Herford, near Hanover. Dr Fox said it was no longer possible to expect a fifth of the Army to be tied up permanently in continental Europe when such huge demands were being placed on the military by tighter budgets and the war in Afghanistan.
As part of a strategic defence review if the Tories win power, he is overseeing preparations for negotiations within Nato to reassign burdens among members.
He wants new member states from eastern and central Europe, particularly Poland, to take over Britain’s
commitments in Germany, allowing British troops to be deployed elsewhere. A final decision will depend on negotiations with Nato allies, in particular France, and on the Ministry of Defence’s ability to handle the return of so many soldiers for whom there is no accommodation in Britain.
Dr Fox said maintaining British Forces Germany was “now not necessary for what we need to do as a country”.
He added: “If other countries are willing to take up roles in continental defence, that leaves Britain and France able to take on expeditionary roles. Finding a more creative diplomatic solution in Nato will be a priority for an incoming Conservative government.”