The British military spokesman, Major Charles Burbridge, said that Iraqi and British forces started operation "Sinbad" in Basrah (550 Km. to the south) in an "attempt to improve the living levels of the people through repairing the light posts in the streets and removing the garbage". Other projects like reconstructing hospitals, repairing water distribution nets and providing pupils with the necessary requirements will start under the protection of the Iraqi and British forces.
The spokesman confirmed that "The M.N.F is providing the suitable security frame for the Iraqi forces to enter certain districts and help the reconstruction process and support Iraqi engineers and contractors". Burbridge continued that another element has been added to the plan and that is to rid the police force from the militia members who penetrated it. He considered "the key to success in Basrah is providing a secure enough environments that enables Iraqi security forces from controlling things here and then hand over the security file to it. Thus, the existence of the M.N.F. in the streets will be reduced.
This operation is expected to go on till the first months of next year. Seven thousands British soldiers are spreading in the south of Iraq.117 of them got killed since the invasion in March, 2003.
The reaction of people in Basrah towards this plan ranged between welcoming and criticizing it:
Fatima Hussain, a principle of a primary school, said "We are very glad to hear about this plan being carried out by the British forces who offered a lot of help to our schools and children in Basrah. Without these forces, chaos would have prevailed in the city."
Navy officer, Kareem Hussain, said "The American forces must prove the credibility of the promises it made before the war, through activating the work in humanitarian projects." He added that what the Iraqi really needs is the improvement of health and service facilities.
Jamal Musa, an official in the Iraqi General Company of ports, said "In stead of constructing children playgrounds and decorating schools, they should be building hospitals which Basrah needs most." He, also, demanded to "solve the problems of water and electricity." He pointed out that "the existence of the British Forces is one of the reasons of deteriorating the security status (…) They are harming the people and not protecting them."
How ever, a France Press correspondent watched thirty British soldiers fixing up the doors and windows of a school at Al-Baradhi'ia where the British and American consulates are located, while others were busy digging foundations for constructing children playgrounds. (Source)Alwatan