Saturday, December 31, 2005

Iraq the Model reports

Mohammed at Iraq the Model is providing ground-level reporting of the current situation in Iraq's politics and Baghdad's energy crunch for Pajamas Media:

::::::::In what‘s supposed to be a “waiting day” in Iraq since it’s Friday, events and developments just kept surfacing and vacation day was just as eventful as any other day of the week.

Baghdad now is suffering from a power siege that began after workers in one of Iraq’s largest refineries-the Baiji oil refinery-came under threats from terrorists who said they’d kill tanker drivers who transport oil products to the rest of the country. The oil ministry responded by shutting down the refinery as a measure to avoid loss in lives. This caused Baghdad to suffer from yet a new fuel and electricity shortage because the refinery supplies many power plants in the country. The electricity outages are most severe in the western part of Baghdad where residents are getting a little more than 6 hours/day.

In a related development, Ahmed al-Chalabi has been asked to run the oil ministry after the minister Mohammed Bahr al-Iloom was forced to take a whole month off!
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If you're not checking in with Mohammed for updates regularly you're doing yourself a disservice. Same with Pajamas Media. You can think of them as "open source news reporting" in that they highlight stories and opinion from a hugely wide array of sources. But I digress.

I'm not sure why the response by the Iraqis to terrorist threats is to shut down their major refinery rather than deploy their existing security forces or, as a final resort, to ask for Coalition assistance. We've certainly been providing convoy assistance elsewhere. Of course, the terrorist actions aren't going to win them any friends in Baghdad or in Iraq as a whole. Perhaps the Iraqi government's take on the matter is to let the terrorists reap the consequences of their threats. As with Mohammed, I await developments.

Please also take a moment there on the post from Iraq the Model to read the political situation update that takes up the bottom 2/3rds of the post. Things there are a lot more complex than the media is painting things and it's critical for us to know that as we make our own judgements.