Thursday, October 05, 2006

If They Don't Get This Right They're Dead

I can never understand why people don't pay more attention to Al-Sabah Al-Jadeed. It's one of the few, the very few, Iraqi newspapers that is independent of any party line, it regularly "scoops" other papers, and it focusses on stories of interest to Iraqis. Government - all government, takes place with at least the acquiescence of the governed. When that is withdrawn then government becomes impossible. When a government fails to ensure the distribution of basic necessities it's lifespan is sharply limited. When I was a cadet our counter-insurgency lecturers regularly drummed into us the classic formulation that all societies are "Three meals away from revolution." My experiences in the field tells me they were right.

This (Arabic language) article in Al-Sabah Al-Jadeed covers one of the most important aspects of the failure of the American "government" in Iraq. - The failure to provide cooking fuel, not just cooking fuel, but heating fuel, and fuel for generators.

Summary: According to the article the American sponsored "government" in Iraq's Oil ministry has formed an "emergency room" to deal with the new gasoline crisis which began with the end of curfew that was imposed a few days ago in Baghdad. They're arranging for a fleet of 100 oil tankers to bring around 3,5 million liters of gasoline from the South to Baghdad and they hope to repeat this in a few days if refinery production returns to normal. The current crisis is really a "spike" in the ongoing crisis. The curfew created heavy demand for fuel for generators and simultaneously disrupted production of between "12-11" million liters per day moreover the blackouts disrupted not only production but distribution. The ministry has concluded new contracts for the importation of additional quantities of parafin for Baghdad and has stopped dragging its feet on the Iranian contract. Strong denials were issued that Iraq was exporting oil to Jordan at preferential rates.


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