Sunday, August 20, 2006

Iraqi crisis deepens as spotlight moves away

With the world's media focused on events in Lebanon, life in Iraq gets harder with each passing day. Now, Baghdad's petrol pumps have all but run dry. Attacks on infrastructure have been blamed but there is concern that officials are selling fuel off to criminal elements who then smuggle it out of the country. Estimates show over $4 billion worth of fuel has "disappeared" in the past year. Iraq will spend around $952 million on imported oil during August and September.

The oil shortage is just the latest indication that the economy may be on the brink of collapse. Inflation is running at 50 per cent and corruption is rife. Of critical importance is that the American-funded reconstruction programme will finish towards the end of September. Support will continue, but at a much reduced rate. The US may have spent almost $30 billion on reconstruction but there is little to show for it. Iraq now produces less oil than under Hussein and while electricity production is slightly higher then pre-war levels, increased demand on supplies has left most Iraqis, including the entire population of Baghdad, worse off.

The American assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs has released a report showing that security conditions have deteriorated. From May, when the new government took over in Iraq, to August 11, the average number of attacks per week against Americans and Iraqis was 792, up 24 percent from the previous period. The 792 figure was the highest for any counting period since the war began.

While politicians mutter about the possibility of civil war, those on the ground in Iraq believe it has already begun.


At 11:39 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Get out while you can things are only going to get worse


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