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Saturday | June 21, 2003

It's sabotage

When I woke up this morning I caught Bush's weekly radio address where he lauded us for helping the Iraqis. Of course, some Iraqis are none too happy with this.

Pipeline 'sabotage'
But even as Bremer spoke from Baghdad on Thursday, the Iraq-Turkey oil pipeline suffered two explosions that will hinder the country's export capacity, according to the US-appointed Iraqi Oil Minister Thamir Ghadhban.

"There is an incident in the pipeline somewhere near Baiji refinery. We are now assessing and evaluating the damage. I don't know exactly how it happened, and why it happened, but we will do our best to fix it.


"It will affect export capability. It is a pipeline and any incident in a pipeline would affect exports, but it can be repaired," Ghadhban told Reuters in an interview.


In Ankara, Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul said the pipeline had been sabotaged and an investigation was under way. But US Army spokesman Capt. John Morgan said the explosions appeared similar to previous accidents, and dismissed reports of deliberate bombing. The pipeline was still burning on Monday, reports said.

LPG plant damage

Bremer is well aware of acts of sabotage from Iraqi diehards that have hindered US efforts to restore the country's oil exports. He told Congressmen of destruction to Basra's South Gas LPG plant (SGLPG), which he visited last Wednesday. "It was a pure act of political sabotage, almost certainly, by elements of Baathists who want to show that the coalition is unable to run this country," Bremer said, adding, "we still face this kind of activity, and we need to defeat it."

SGLPG, which produces about 50% of Iraq's LPG, is not operational because of sabotage to equipment and a lack of adequate electricity. According to Jabbar Al Eaby, the facility's director, it was professionals who carried out the sabotage since they knew "exactly" how to most severely damage the plant's equipment.

Although enough electricity should be in place by Friday, the parts to repair the plant's damaged equipment will not be available until later. Al Eaby, who escorted Bremer through the SPLPG Wednesday, could not even estimate when the facility would be back online.

Thieves and Saboteurs Disrupt Electrical Services in Iraq

By EDMUND L. ANDREWS


BAGHDAD, Iraq, June 20 The electricity system of Iraq, already damaged by the war, is now being torn apart by systematic looting and possibly by sabotage.

Not far from the Bayji power plant in northern Iraq, high-tension cables that run to Baghdad now either hang like spaghetti or have disappeared altogether.

Near the southern city of Basra, dozens of the biggest electric towers have been toppled in the past few weeks and now look like giraffes with their necks broken.

In the city of Falluja, about 30 miles west of Baghdad, unidentified attackers fired a rocket-propelled grenade on Thursday night that blew up a transformer serving half the city.

With daytime summer temperatures already climbing past 110 degrees and still rising, the attacks have become a major worry for the American-led occupation authorities.

Daily power cutoffs are getting worse in many areas. Electricity failures have disrupted water supplies and led to huge backups of sewage because neither water nor sewage can be properly pumped.

The Iraqi resistance is clearly more than pissed-off Baathist looking for the great man's return. The Shia intend for that not to happen.

Everytime I hear Paul Bremer say that these are just "criminal gangs" or "small pockets of resistance" I get the feeling I'm listening to the Gaulieter of Ukraine or Central Yugoslavia. Does Bremer know he sounds like a Nazi official flailing around, talking about bandit gangs? It's sad and amazing.

The methods of the US Army are woefully inadequate to deal with even this nominal amount of resistance. US troops are deployed in small detachments, isolated from the people, who are undecided on what to do. The clerics are calling for American blood and ranting about Jews buying land. The 50 or so Jews left in what was once one of the Middle East's most thriving Jewish communities, are not buying any land. They don't exist, except as the new Iraqi boogie man.

But the anti-semitic rantings reflect the real fear of the Iraqis, which is that they are going to lose their identity in a colonial takeover of their land. The sabotage of oil and gas facilities is no accident. The Iraqis, regardless of their politics, are talking with nearly one voice in that they want to run their country.

Do you really think bands of guerrillas could survive if their main goal was to restore Saddam? Even with the post-war revisionist talk, it is clear that Saddam was not a popular ruler in any sense of the word. He sucked the life out of Iraq.

I think it gives the Bush Administration far too much credit to say their ineptitude is purposeful. I think these are people who simply think they are chosen to lead this country and anyone who objects has venal motives. So they just don't listen.

The Iraqi resistance is growing. Our anti-partisan sweeps only create more partisans. The locals aren't helping and even at this early stage, anyone looking to get too close to the Americans can expect a visit from the guerrillas. We're not just running into organized resistance, but widespread tacit support from the populace. Not cooperation, but the silent head turning and nodding which leaves US forces mystified. They aren't helping , yet, but they sure are watching and keeping silent.

As long as the US insists on running Iraq, Americans will die.

Steve Gilliard

Posted June 21, 2003 09:51 AM | Comments (102)





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