Keep in mind the U.S. trained most of Basra's police force.


The London-based Qatari daily Al-Arabi Al-Jadid quoted Muhammad Al-Basri, director of the Center for Iraqi Political Studies, who said that "security personnel actively participated in Al-Quds [Day] protests, carried images of non-Iraqi religious leaders, and chanted slogans such as ‘Death to America,'” adding that this would be viewed negatively in the West and do harm to Iraq. Al-Basri also said that “most security forces in Basra were trained by Americans, and this event indicates the failure of the American plan [to influence Iraq] and affirm [the claim] that the Iranians have appropriated this plan."

Other Iraqis also criticized the behavior of the Basra police. 'Ali Hussein, a columnist for the Iraqi daily Al-Mada, wrote on July 2 that Basra police officers suffer from split personality disorder, arguing that those who applauded the Americans for toppling the Saddam Hussein regime in 2003 – meaning the Shi'ites who suffered under his rule – are the same ones cursing the Americans today. The Kurdish-Iraqi news website Kurdistan24 cited Iraqi activists who condemned the event on social media. One activist, 'Abd Al-Kareem Hassan, wondered: "Have you ever heard of officers in the New York, Washington, Chicago, London, or Paris police stepping on an Iraqi flag in one of their ceremonies? … Do they [the Basra police] know that their actions could lead to a diplomatic crisis between the U.S. and Iraq…?"