Al-Basra, the home of the British forces in Iraq, is also considered one of the more stable and peaceful regions of the country. An area where local rule is advancing, and the hatred of the occupation forces is not as pronounced.
One little helicopter crash has vividly exposed this little lie.
Bloddy battles were fought on the streets of Basra last night after a British helicopter crashed in the city, reportedly killing four airmen and drawing an Iraqi crowd shouting 'Victory to the Mahdi army'.
At least three British army vehicles were set on fire as the crowd hurled petrol bombs at troops trying to reach the blazing wreckage. Iraqi police officials believed the aircraft had been brought down by a shoulder-fired missile. Four charred bodies were seen inside it, reports said.
In the ensuing fighting, unconfirmed reports suggested that four Iraqis - some of them bystanders and thought to include a child - had also been killed. Soldiers fired three live rounds as they moved to seal off the area. A curfew was imposed from 8pm local time in a bid to restore calm.
Outside of the Kurdish areas (where war with Turkey and Iran are the new topics), the loathing of the occupation forces is palatable. Even the calm and safe regions can explode with no notice. This adventure is a failure, and the only question left is how great a failure will it ultimately be.