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FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 23, 2005
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EDITORIAL

Confusion reigns in Iraq; who is fighting whom?

President Bush on Thursday reiterated his belief that U.S. troops must remain in Iraq. He said withdrawing coalition forces would make the world more dangerous and allow terrorists "to claim an historic victory over the United States."

But how can the terrorists declare victory when we proclaimed "mission accomplished" 28 months ago?

If recent clashes between Iraqi security forces and coalition forces are any indication, our troops may never withdraw.

Monday, for instance, British troops clashed with Iraqi police in a deadly confrontation at a Basra police station. British armor crashed into the jail to free two soldiers Iraqi police and militiamen had arrested. The fighting between our British allies and our Iraqi allies killed at least five Iraqis.

Basra's provincial council held an emergency meeting Wednesday and voted unanimously to stop dealing with the British forces.

Basra Gov. Mohammed al-Waili called the attack barbaric and a product of imperial arrogance. He declared an end to all cooperation with British forces unless Prime Minister Tony Blair's government apologized and compensated relatives of Iraqis killed in the violence.

Raising the stakes Thursday, Mr. al-Waili said the Iraqi government would punish any of its employees who cooperate with British forces in Basra. He also told The Associated Press: "We want the two British soldiers who were freed to be turned over to Iraqi authorities."

These are supposed to be our allies.

Thank goodness we captured the enemy, Saddam Hussein, nearly two years ago. Otherwise, this would be a real mess.

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