Britain seems to be tired of the Iraqi campaign. In any case, it is not going to get bogged down in the war that doesn’t seem to end with a victory of any party. So, Britain wants to put the burden of defense upon the Iraqi security forces.
Britain's defense chief said Monday Iraqi forces could take the lead in the battle against insurgents within a year, reports the AP. Although the battle against the insurgency could go on for years, Defense Secretary John Reid said that "in a relatively short period of time we can start the process of that being led by the Iraqi security forces themselves."
"So although (U.S. Defense Secretary) Donald Rumsfeld may have said, correctly, that this may take years before it is finally completed, that did not imply that all that period will have to be led by the multinational forces or the British forces," Reid said in an interview with British Broadcasting Corp. radio.
"And I personally think that within a year we could begin that transition to the Iraqi forces leading the effort themselves." Reid said that at least 12 of Iraq's 18 provinces were relatively peaceful.
U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said last week it may take as long as 12 years to defeat the insurgents.
In the meantime, the situation in Iraq shows no signs of stability. A car bomb in Baghdad killed two civilians and wounded four more Monday, police said.
The car bomb was parked on a street in the capital's western area and was detonated by remote control, police said. One of the victims was a woman. Elsewhere, four gunmen killed a senior member of the Kurdish Democratic Party's Mosul branch, a party spokesman said. Jirjis Mohammed Amin was shot inside his sister's home in the northern city, says the AP.
A second attack by gunmen in Mosul killed a bodyguard of the provincial Nineveh governor, police said. He was killed in front of his home in the eastern part of the city, which is the capital of Nineveh province.
New Egypt's envoy to Baghdad was kidnapped in the Iraqi capital over the weekend. On Sunday, officials and witnesses Egyptian diplomat Ihab al-Sherif, 51, chief of his country's diplomatic mission in Baghdad, had been kidnapped. Witnesses said he was seized Saturday night by about eight gunmen after he stopped to buy a newspaper in western Baghdad.
Al-Sherif, who had been in the country since June 1, was pistol-whipped and forced into the trunk of a car as the assailants shouted that he was an "American spy," the witnesses said, speaking on condition of anonymity Sunday because they feared reprisals, reports the AP.
Kidnappers who seized al-Sherif over the weekend have yet to make contact with the authorities or present any demands, Egyptian and Iraqi officials said on Monday. More than 36 hours after Ihab el-Sherif was snatched by gunmen off a Baghdad street, no group had claimed responsibility for the kidnapping, reports Reuters. Violence against Shiite Iraqi officials also continues growing. The AP reported Friday of killing an aide to Iraq's most influential Shiite cleric. The oldest member of the Iraqi parliament Shiite Dhari Ali al-Fayadh, 87, was killed Tuesday by a suicide car bomb near Baghdad.
On the photo: Egypt's envoy to Baghdad Ihab al-Sherif