Friday, January 06, 2006

Check-in on Iraq

Riverbend has a "Happy" new year post up. Apparently the gasoline price spike caused by everyone's favorite international lending institution, the IMF, is really doing a lot to help raise everyone's spirits. As well as completely shred their purchasing power via inflation. Well, when fraudster Chalabi is the new oil minister, what else can you expect?

There is talk of major mismanagement and theft in the Oil Ministry. Chalabi took over several days ago and a friend who works in the ministry says the takeover is a joke. “You know how they used to check our handbags when we first walked into the ministry?” She asked the day after Chalabi crowned himself Oil Emperor, “Now WE check our handbags after we leave the ministry- you know- to see if Chalabi stole anything.”

Way to nation build, America!!! Keep it up!

6 Thoughts:

Blogger Demotiki said...

Iraq’s oil production, water and electricity supplies are all below pre-war levels. The violence is worse not better (in the last week over 200 civilians and a dozen or so US soldiers were killed). So what does this administration do, celebrate of course! The increased violence just shows that once again the insurgency is in its last throws again.

Saturday, January 07, 2006 9:02:00 PM  
Blogger pawlr said...

that's throes, but I hear ya. What can you say but there is an immense disconnect between the way this adventure is being sold in the press and the reality on the ground. Also check out Juan Cole for the more ridiculous aspects of the current situation.

Saturday, January 07, 2006 9:36:00 PM  
Blogger pawlr said...

Apparently a British General is calling for Blair's impeachment over the decision to go to war in Iraq. We need more courageous military here to step forward and call for the same approach to our own bungling executive here in the States. Paging the Joint Chiefs. Anyone? Bueller?

Sunday, January 08, 2006 7:42:00 AM  
Blogger pawlr said...

Juan Cole also has posted this letter from an experienced U.S. journalist in Iraq:

"I am an American currently working in Baghdad for a news organization. I’ve been here numerous times over the past 15 years.

The current security situation here has gotten much worse since the elections. We had a security briefing yesterday right after a fellow journalist was abducted. Besides the usual reminders to keep a low profile and going over our own unique security measures and procedures as to what to do in any given scenario we were told that there’s a high probability of all out civil war.

Iraq has been in a low level civil war since the end of 2003 that has been increasing in intensity ever since, but now our security team is telling us that should all-out war break out most, if not all of us, may have to be evacuated to safety in a nearby country. Instead of the scores of Iraqis dying each day as do now, thousands a day could perish. Most Sunnis have given up hope of getting adequate representation in the new Iraqi government and radical elements in the Shiite parties want to exact revenge on the Sunni for supporting Saddam over the years. Shiite death squads roam the city at night (in police and army uniform no less) dragging all the male members of a Sunni family out into the street and executing them in front of their women folk. Sunni insurgents (not in uniform) do the same to Shiite families in areas claimed as theirs.

The Sunni insurgents, it seems, are now determined to bring the new government to its knees by cutting off fuel supplies to Baghdad. The city’s supply of gasoline nearly dried up last week and local authorities literally shut the city down by banning all privately owned vehicles from the streets. They claimed it was to help hunt down the kidnappers of the Interior Minister’s sister but the real reason seems to be to reduce the demand for gas until supplies could be replenished. Electricity in most Baghdad neighborhoods has now been further reduced to as low as 1 hour per day. The black market rate for fuel for generators has doubled again and in many areas even that has run out. At this rate the city will go dark by the end of the month. Iraqi troops are reluctant to escort fuel trucks into Baghdad and American troops have their hands full escorting their own convoys.

Most US casualties are a result of trying to protect US military supplies. You can forget about the US military escorting civilian fuel convoys. So it all comes down to the Iraq army’s ability to get fuel into Baghdad and I don’t have much confidence they will succeed."

Not very encouraging.

Sunday, January 08, 2006 4:32:00 PM  
Blogger Demotiki said...

I never thought that civil war would break out in Iraq because it seemed to me that only the Kurds would like to break off. I reasoned that the resulting Sunni mini-state would have no oil so why break off? Any resulting Shiite state would control less territory than a Shiite dominated unified Iraqi government would control so they wouldn’t want to break off either and risk losing Mosul’s oil.

However, revenge has its own logic. The violence continues to increase, and to a certain extent, the “foreign fighters” are fanning the flames of civil war by killing Shiites in large numbers. The logic of unity cannot withstand the constant killings. Eventually every ethnic group will want to settle scores. A critical point will be reached soon where the flood-gates let loose. There will be literally nothing that the US Government can do to stop it.

I wonder what role the Kurds have played in encouraging sectarian violence in Southern Iraq. Since it is their stated objective to be as autonomous as possible, a civil war would be just what the doctor ordered. I wouldn’t be surprised if they were helping foreign fighters to bring in material for the terror campaign in the south. If that’s the case, good luck trying to stop it at the Syrian border, that’s not where it’s coming from.

Sunday, January 08, 2006 5:41:00 PM  
Blogger pawlr said...

The Sunnis are the ones who will be trying to keep Iraq together, exactly because they don't have the oil fields and have no other way of collecting revenue. However, the potential for civil war is not necessarily dependent on separatist ambitions.

What's clear from these reports is that the U.S. troops have no control over the retaliatory abductions and killings going on. The Iraqi police are at the same time either irrelevant or corrupt in that they're participating in these activities. So you can see a civil war erupt as a result of these attacks even without broad sympathy for a separatist agenda.

Monday, January 09, 2006 8:25:00 AM  

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