Michael on “This Week at War”


Overwatch: British Forces in southern Iraq are transitioning to a mission defined more by overwatch, training Iraqi forces and patrolling the Iranian border.

Michael was interviewed from Basra, Iraq as part of a segment entitled “The British Troop Drawdown: Can the Iraqis control Basra?” Also featured in this segment was Nic Robertson, CNN Senior International Correspondent, reporting from Baghdad. The October 13th broadcast of CNN’s “This Week at War” aired on Saturday at 7pm Eastern and was re-broadcast on Sunday, October 14th at 1pm Eastern.

TOM FOREMAN/CNN ANCHOR: On Monday, Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced that by next spring, the British force in Basra will be down to 2,500, half of its current strength. When the British withdrew from the cities at the base of the airport, there was real concern that chaos was going to reign, this second largest city in Iraq in the middle of important oil fields. This is where they were along the river. They drew back out here to the airport. People thought it would all go crazy. In Iraq many dire predictions come true, but apparently not this time. For a look at what’s really going on Michael Yon joins us by phone from Basra. Michael is an independent journalist and photographer currently embedded with British troops and just back from reporting in several locations in the south, CNN senior international correspondent Nic Robertson is now in our Baghdad bureau. Michael, there were predictions of chaos. What did we get?

MICHAEL YON: Certainly not chaos. Things have settled down. Basra is going on with its business, very few attacks on the British at this point. I think they haven’t lost a soldier in combat for maybe seven weeks. We had one small mortar attack about four or five days ago on this base, three or four rounds. It wasn’t much. Where when I was here earlier this year, we were getting attacked multiple times a day, much larger attacks. Now it’s really very quiet.

Watch the entire segment here:

[Note, the video player may not work well with all browser configurations. The videoclip can also be viewed here.]



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