* David Miliband’s Statement on ‘Iraq: Locally Recruited Civilians’ of 9th October stated that Britain will help to resettle- in the wider Middle East, or in the United Kingdom- Iraqis who can prove that they have worked for this country’s soldiers or diplomats for a continuous period of twelve months.One of the upshots of the Parliamentary lobby was at least a vague idea of the numbers. Mark Brockway's figure is around 700 Iraqis, and a further 1,000 or so third-country nationals who work on the Basra Air Station. The big difference is that the Government apparently has a database of this latter group, and by definition they come onto the airbase to work, so they could be ghosted fairly easily in 4 or so large aircraft movements.
* Hundreds of Iraqis have been targeted for assassination for having worked for this country. Some have worked for a period of twelve months exclusively for the British and can prove this. Some have not but have been pinpointed for murder anyway. We have a responsibility to save these people from being murdered for the ‘crime’ of working for the British.
* There are a lot of local employees who fled their jobs before 12 months precisely because they had been targeted, or who did a 6-month tour for one British battalion and were then told to go and work for the Americans, or who did 12 months or more with interruptions, or who the Army didn’t give proper documentation too.
* Iraqi staff members must be given shelter not because of their provable length of service but according to whether they have been identified for murder by local death squads. This can be investigated on the spot by Army officers and referred rapidly to London: the process needs to start now.
* Mr Miliband’s statement did not mention the families of Iraqi employees. As Iraqi militias also murder the families of their ‘enemies’, we must resettle our employees’ families as well. Mark Brockway, an ex-soldier who hired many Iraqis, estimates that we are talking about a maximum of 700 Iraqis to resettle: this country admits 190,000 immigrants net every year.
* Iraqis have already been targeted for murder for having worked for this country. We will be shamed if we allow more to be killed for the same reason. Our soldiers, who are angry at this betrayal, and our diplomats, will be placed at risk if they gain a reputation for abandoning their local helpers.
Oh well, write to them, or call 0207 219 3000 and ask for your MP. You can also help freep the MiliBlog, but please behave with dignity consonant with the traditions of the service.
Update: The director of Basra International Airport has been kidnapped by unidentified gunmen.