Basra provincial council has suspended relations with the British over the alleged 2004 abuse of Iraqis by British soldiers in southern Iraq, a British military spokesman said today.
Capt. James St. John-Price said the Basra provincial authorities severed contacts yesterday, a day after footage emerged showing several Iraqi youths allegedly being beaten by British soldiers in Amarah.
“The (Basra) provincial council has decided to suspend relations with the British,” St. John-Price said. “We are unsure if this includes diplomatic and economic ties also.”
It was also unclear if Iraqi police forces, which had been conducting joint-patrols with British forces, would heed the council decision to cut ties, St. John-Price said.
“We are hopeful that the IPS (Iraqi police services) will keep carrying out joint-patrols,” he said.
He said he was uncertain if Iraqi police, which are under the control of the national government in Baghdad, had decided to stop co-operating with the British military in Basra, where the bulk of Britain’s forces are based.