Monday 30 April 2007

Prince Harry will go to Iraq

I appeared on Canada's CTV News today with excerpts from my interview incorporated into the following article:

Prince Harry will go to Iraq, head of army says News Staff

The head of the British army says he has personally decided that Prince Harry will go to Iraq, amidst reports Shiite insurgents may form a special unit to target him.

Gen. Sir Richard Dannatt said the decision will be kept under review, but says he hopes his statement will end media speculation on Harry's deployment.

"This whole matter arose earlier this month due to the fact that casualty rates for the British army have been dramatically high, and the issue therefore became very political as people realized that Prince Harry could be a major target," Rafal Heydel-Mankoo, editor of Burke's Peerage and Gentry, told CTV Newsnet.

"However, we have a moral issue. Many families whose children fought in the war though, if their children should sacrifice their lives, why on Earth couldn't Prince Harry?"

The Guardian newspaper is reporting that Shiite militants have set up a special squad targeting Harry should he be posted to Iraq.

The British newspaper quoted a commander in the Mahdi Army -- the militia loyal to radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr -- as saying the group had informants inside British army bases who would tip them off about Harry's presence.

"One of our aims is to capture Harry, we have people inside the British bases to inform us on when he will arrive," commander Abu Mujtaba is quoted as saying.

The Guardian said it couldn't substantiate Abu Mujtaba's claims and the British military dismissed them as propaganda.

Harry will become the first royal to serve in a war zone since his uncle, Prince Andrew, flew as a helicopter pilot in the Falklands war in 1982.

"At the time, there were concerns that he would become a target for the Argentine forces," said Heydel-Mankoo. "And indeed, the Argentine air force did try to find out which helicopters he was flying."

With files from The Associated Press

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