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Oil Sabotage is "As Bad as Ever": Shahristani - 60 Dead in violence - Chatham House Study on Iraq Fragmentation
Friday, 18 May 2007 14:53
by Juan Cole

In an interview with the Independent, Iraq's Oil Minister, Hussein Shahristani said that the sabotage of petroleum pipelines has interfered with the Iraqi economy and is "as bad as it has ever been." He also revealed that Iraq exports only 1.6 million barrels a day of petroleum of 2.2 mn. b/d produced. The pipeline from Kirkuk to Turkey is blown up faster than it can be repaired.

And, Shahristani recently flew to Kurdistan to read Kurdish leaders like Massoud Barzani the riot act. The Kurds have been making independent contracts with a Norwegian firm without going through Baghdad. The Independent writes:

' Four contracts for oil exploration signed in Kurdistan before the fall of Saddam will be honoured though they may be amended. Dr Shahristani says he told Kurdish leaders that any other contracts "are illegal and I will be writing to any company that signs a contract with the KRG... that Iraq will not deal with them in future." '

Iraqi guerrillas killed 3 US GIs and wounded a fourth with a roadside bomb on Thursday.

Police found about 30 unidentified corpses in the streets of Iraq, according to McClatchy. It also gives details of some other attacks, including:

' 3 civilians were killed when a mortar shell hit Jamila neighborhood east Baghdad around 6,30 pm.

- 2 policemen were killed and 1 was wounded when gunmen opened fire targeting their patrol in Bob Al Sham district north east Baghdad around 6,40 pm . . .

WaPo says that 60 Iraqis were killed or found dead in the civil war violence on Thursday. This estimate is low, since when WaPo was put to bed only 13 bodies had been found in Baghdad; as we saw, the toll rose.

Sawt al-Iraq says in Arabic that a curfew has been reimposed on Mosul and that police have rounded up 300 persons there on suspicion of involvement with terrorism.

Police found 9 bodies in Diyala Province, and another 9 were killed in violence in the Sunni Arab provinces.

The foreign ministers of Muslim-majority countries called Thursday for the withdrawal of all foreign troops from Iraq.

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' Al-Bayyinah al-Jadidah carries on the front page a 130-word report citing Zaynab Karim, parliament member from Al-Sadr Bloc, saying that Muqtada al-Sadr insists that the ministers who will assume the bloc's posts be technocrats regardless of the proportional power-sharing system . . .

Al-Sabah al-Jadid publishes on page 4 a 450-word report on Al-Najaf Governor As'ad Abu-Kulal's meeting with the Al-Najaf Advisory Council's Energy Committee to discuss ways to resolve the frequent electricity outages in the governorate . . .

Tariq al-Sha'b publishes on page 2 a 1,000-word report on the sit-in organized by Iraqi workers in Baghdad and other governorates demanding their inclusion in the new salary scale. . .

Al-Manarah on 16 May carries on page 4 a 600-word report citing the Maysan Governor Adil Mahudar Radi saying that he has agreed with Iran to construct a housing complex in the governorate comprising of 1,000 housing units. . .

Al-Bayyinah al-Jadidah carries on the front page a 60-word report saying that demonstrations were staged in Basra protesting the electricity outage for three days. . .

Al-Sabah carries on page 4 a 260-word report saying that Wasit University conducted a symposium to discuss the reasons behind the emigration of scientists, doctors, and university professors. . .

Al-Sabah carries on page 4 a 220-word report citing the Oil Ministry Spokesman Asim Jihad denying a US report that $15 million is stolen per day from Iraq's crude oil. . .

Tariq al-Sha'b publishes on page 3 a 1,000-word article by Muhammad Ali Muhiyi al-Din saying that US forces have succeeded in neutralizing a person, who used to instigate people for jihad in Baghdad, by awarding him a contract for the cleaning of his district. . .

Al-Zaman publishes on page 6 a 500-word article by Sabah al-Khazraji saying that according to the Interior Ministry, between 5,000 and 6,000 Iraqi citizens are applying for passports daily. The writer says that this indicates the lack of security in the country. . . '

Chatham House Study on Iraq Fragmentation

Gareth Stansfield of Exeter University has written a position paper for Chatham House in the UK, spelling out how dire the situation is in Iraq and making some suggestions. He slams Frederick Kagan's sunny optimism about the effect of the "surge." This is the press release. The piece is available in pdf format.

'Iraq: fragmentation and civil wars - new paper

Thursday 17 May 2007

There is not 'one' civil war, nor 'one' insurgency, but several civil wars and insurgencies between different communities in today's Iraq. Within this warring society, the Iraqi government is only one among many 'state-like' actors, and is largely irrelevant in terms of ordering social, economic, and political life. It is now possible to argue that Iraq is on the verge of being a failed state which faces the distinct possibility of collapse and fragmentation. These are some of the key findings of Accepting Realities in Iraq a new Briefing Paper written by Dr Gareth Stansfield and published today by Chatham House.

The paper also assesses Al-Qaeda activity within Iraq, especially in the major cities in the centre and north of the country. Dr Stansfield argues that, although Al-Qaeda is challenged by local groups, there is momentum behind its activity. Iraq's neighbors too have a greater capacity to affect the situation on the ground than either the UK or the US. Iran, Saudi Arabia and Turkey all have different reasons for seeing the instability in Iraq continue, and each uses different methods to influence developments.

Dr Stansfield argues that with the myriad conflicts in Iraq following societal, religious and political divides and often involving state actors, the multinational forces are finding it exceptionally difficult to promote security normalization. The recent US 'surge' in Baghdad looks likely to have simply pushed insurgent activity to neighboring cities and cannot deliver the required political accommodation. A political solution will require Sunni Arab representatives’ participation in government, the recognition of Moqtada al-Sadr as a legitimate political partner, and a positive response to Kurdish concerns. Further, it would be a mistake to believe that the political forces in Iraq are weak and can be reorganized by the US or the international community, there must be ‘buy-in’ from the key Iraqi political actors.

Dr Stansfield says: ‘The coming year will be pivotal for Iraq. The internecine fighting and continual struggle for power threatens the nation’s very existence in its current form. An acceptance of the realities on the ground in Iraq and a fundamental rethinking of strategy by coalition powers are vital if there is to be any chance of future political stability in the country.’

Note to editors:

Accepting Realities in Iraq, is a new Briefing Paper written by Dr Gareth Stansfield and published on Thursday 16 May by Chatham House.

Gareth Stansfield is an Associate Fellow of the Middle East Programme at Chatham House, and Associate Professor in Middle East Politics at the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies at the University of Exeter. He has recently published Iraq: People, History, Politics (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2007), and is co-editor (with Reidar Visser) of An Iraq of its Regions: Cornerstone of a Federal Democracy? (London and New York: Hurst & Co. and Columbia University Press, forthcoming, September 2007).

Interview bids:
Sam Hardy
+44 (0) 20 7957 5739
+44 (0) 7946 642 205

Gareth Stansfield
+44 (0) 776 449 9727

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