Prince Harry may be banned from Iraq
The young royal has faced a lot threats from insurgents ever since it became known that he wants to serve in Iraq.Updated: Apr 26, 2007 13:03 IST
British royal Prince Harry’s dream of serving alongside fellow army-men in Iraq may never come true, for senior officers are contemplating banning him from the war zone to avert an “inevitable disaster” as far as other soldiers are concerned.
Senior officers within the armed forces are extremely concerned that Harry will become a magnet for suicide bombers, snipers and other attackers, thereby also increasing the security threat to his fellow soldiers.
According to a source, Army chiefs have now launched a late review of their decision to let Harry, know simply as 2nd Lt Wales, serve with his men from the Blues and Royals regiment when they leave for Iraq in May.
“It’s very complicated. No one wants to gift a PR victory to the insurgents by withdrawing him. But there is a groundswell of opinion across senior ranks now that to allow Harry to serve in the open with his men will lead to an inevitable disaster,” the Sun quoted the source, as saying.
The third-in-line to the British throne has faced a lot of threats from insurgents ever since it became known that he was keen on serving in Iraq.
Not only have highly-publicised threats been made to kill or capture Harry, but militants have also put huge bounties on his head.
Despite all this, Harry, trained to command 11 men in a troop of four Scimitar reconnaissance vehicles, has repeatedly insisted that he wants to serve in the war-torn country.
On his 21st birthday last year Harry had said: "There’s no way I’m going to put myself through Sandhurst and then sit on my arse back home while my boys are out fighting for their country. That may sound patriotic but it’s true."
The Royal household gave the clearance for his deployment in Iraq, which will involve "leading a troop of 12 men in four Scimitar armoured reconnaissance vehicles, each with a crew of three" from the regiment's "A squadron", a joint statement from the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and Clarence House said in Feb.
"The decision to deploy him has been a military one, made by Chief of General Staff, General Sir Richard Dannatt, in conjunction with Cornet Wales' commanding officer," it added.
The MoD confirmed that the Prince’s deployment in the Middle-Eastern nation was under consideration.
“Prince Harry’s deployment is under constant consideration,” the MoD said.
Chief of the General Staff General Sir Richard Dannatt will make the final decision.
If the Prince does go to Iraq, he will be the first senior royal to serve on the front since Prince Andrew did in the Falklands in 1982.
First Published: Apr 26, 2007 12:52 IST