Where we are

OK. Tony Blair got off in the commons, partly because Robin Cook makes a much more credible spokesman for the opposition than Michael Howard. But on MOnday James Meek in G2, and Fisk in the Indie (links later: there’s something wrong with the NTL DNS) had long stories about journeys outside Baghdad which suggested a third factor: the British troops have managed somehow to keep out of the war in the American-occupied sector of Iraq.

I have seen no good reports on what is happening in the British sector for the last six months. I assume from this, as I am meant to, that everything is quiet there. But the Meeks, who spent five days with a marine batallion, makes it plain that the war continues fierecely where the Americans do patrol, while Fisk, who drive, with an Arab friend, to Najaf, shows that over huge swathes of the country they no longer even pretend to patrol. Especially interesting is his account of a ceasefire greement in Najaf listing the roads which the Americans are allowed to patrol on. So, where are the British troops patrolling outside the cities now?

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