A sobering first-hand report from Basra as the British leave:

One graffito on a wall bordering the main Al-Dijari road reads: “We warn all women of Basra, especially those who are not wearing abbaya [a long, loose black cloak worn over everyday clothes], that we will kill you.” It is signed in the name of an offshoot of the Mahdi Army, the strongest militia in Basra.

It is not just women who live in fear. Professionals such as engineers, doctors and scientists have been dragged from their homes and murdered.

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