Saturday, September 18, 2004

Iraq clusterfuck: Great work on that oil, Inerrant Boy! 

Sheesh. Fight a war for the oil, and at least you could get some:

The sharp rise in attacks on Iraq's oil pipelines in recent weeks has substantially impaired the country's production, dealing a blow to the economy and threatening the struggling reconstruction effort, U.S. and Iraqi officials say.

Insurgents are bombing pipelines and other parts of Iraq's oil infrastructure almost daily, another sign that the country's security situation is deteriorating beyond the control of U.S. military and Iraqi security forces.

In an appearance before Congress in March 2003, Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul D. Wolfowitz said Iraqi oil revenue could bring in as much as $100 billion over two to three years.

This week, however, Bush administration officials asked Congress to divert $450 million earmarked for reconstruction to increase oil production. That's on top of $1.7 billion already devoted to rebuilding the industry.

"The premise was that we'd go to Iraq, and oil would provide the money. That's not what is happening, and somebody is going to have to pay," said Gal Luft, executive director of the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security.

The success of the bombings and the expansion of targets have signaled to some experts that the insurgents have inside help. Some of Iraq's 55,000 oil technicians and engineers who are disenchanted with the U.S. occupation may be providing instruction.

"A significant number are supplying information and intelligence to the various insurgents to blow up facilities," said Youssef Ibrahim, a director of the Strategic Energy Investment Group, an energy consultancy based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. "It's part and parcel of the effort to bring down a government that they see as collaborators."

The effectiveness of the pipeline attacks also has led to worries that dissidents in neighboring Saudi Arabia, the world's largest oil exporter, could copy the strategy. "A simple attack produces a huge impact," said Mustafa Alani, a security analyst with the Gulf Research Center in Dubai. "It's cheap, easy and achievable."

With 40% of the world's oil transported by pipelines and global demand at an all-time high, an outbreak of pipeline bombings could have disastrous economic consequences, analysts said. "The world can live with Iraq pumping 2 million barrels per day. The world cannot live with pipelines popping all over the place," Luft said.

U.S. and Iraqi officials have been at a loss to determine how to contain the damage.
(via LA Times)

More proof that we're winning!

Look! Over there! Hurricane Ivan!

Look! Over there! CBS News!

And pay no attention to the war behind the curtain!

"You know the drill."

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