Monday, January 02, 2006

Energy - everywhere and nowhere 

If there was any single thing that sums up the utter failure of the U.S. occupation of Iraq and gives lie to the notion that it is making lives better for average Iraqis it is this: In spite of sitting on the second largest energy reserves in the world Iraqis themselves have an appalling shortage of energy. Witness this from the Los Angeles Times:

Much of Iraq ushered in the new year under a near blackout today as a week-old power crunch worsened across huge sections of the northern and central parts of the country.

Baghdad's already sporadic electrical power supply was cut to about an hour Saturday, causing a legion of private generators to roar steadily and dampening the spirits of millions of Iraqis preparing for New Year's Eve, traditionally a joyous time of fireworks, family gatherings and public outings.

"I filled the water tanks," said Firyal Fadil Khafaji, 40, a biology professor at Baghdad University. "Now we are trying to fill up the generator with gasoline because we are going to have a long night."


The power outages added to the building frustration over last week's steep increase in gasoline prices. Baghdad residents waited up to three hours in lines Saturday to get fuel, apparently prompted by a shortage and fear of further cuts in subsidies.

As is customary, Baghdad residents flocked to outdoor markets for gifts and party supplies. But they braced for a night without light or heat with temperatures in the 40s.

"We are doing our best to clean the house without hot water," said medical assistant Diaa Hammed Doulimi, who was preparing to receive his parents for New Year's Eve at his home in middle-class west Baghdad.

"I have a very small generator that I turn on for two hours, as I can't afford to turn it on for more," Doulimi said. "I guess we're going to have to eat in the dark tonight."

One hour of electricity a day and a three hour wait for gasoline! And then they wonder why the insurgency keeps growing.


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