Session 2007-08, 22 July 2008
Publication of Report
SITUATION IN IRAQ IMPROVING AND UK DOING A VITAL JOB, SAY MPs
The security situation in Basra has been transformed in the past six months and the UK is helping the Iraqi Security Forces become self-sufficient and effective, according to a Report published today by the House of Commons Defence Committee
(Fifteenth Report of Session 2007-08, UK operations in Iraq and the Gulf, HC 982).
The Committee visited Iraq and the Arabian Gulf in June 2008 and found increasing security and stability being established in and around Basra. The Iraqi-led Operation Charge of the Knights has dealt a severe blow to the insurgency in southern Iraq, and with increased stability are coming the first steps in economic recovery and development. The UK contributes to military, naval and police training teams which are helping to build up the capabilities of the Iraqi Security Forces. This is now the most important task for UK Forces in Iraq and the Ministry of Defence will have to consider how best to maintain the activities of the training teams as it plans its future presence in the region.
UK Forces also perform a vital role in protecting Iraq's oil infrastructure in the Gulf. Oil is the key to the future prosperity of Iraq, and helping the Iraqis ensure stability and security in the Gulf is a vital role for the Coalition. The Committee pays tribute to the work that UK Service personnel are doing and recognises the often difficult, sometimes dangerous and always delicate nature of operations in that area.
Commenting on the Report, Committee Chairman Rt Hon James Arbuthnot MP said:
"We have visited Iraq regularly as part of our scrutiny of the UK deployment there, and this year the security situation in Basra is a world away from what we saw last year. The Iraqi Security Forces have restored law and order to many parts of the city and the UK is working with them now to safeguard that stability and develop their capabilities. That will need a continuing commitment from the UK to maintain a military training presence in Iraq.
The cornerstone of Iraq's prosperity and security is economic development. Iraq is not inherently a poor country, but the UK and the rest of the Coalition must help Iraq develop its economy and infrastructure to reap the benefits of its natural resources."
NOTE FOR EDITORS:
The Committee was nominated on 13 July 2005. The Defence Committee is appointed by the House of Commons to examine the expenditure, administration, and policy of the Ministry of Defence and its associated public bodies.
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