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The Iraqi Infallibility

So apparently after 7 years of the lifting of sanctions and over 300$ Billion in revenues, and supposedly over 20$ billion spent on the electricity sector. The good people of Basra and Baghdad do not receive more than 6 hours of electricity a day. While most would find the fact that after all this time and all this money spent with not only a lack of result but a deterioration in the service astonishing, probably more would find it even stranger that not one person seems to be at fault here.

The obvious target seems to be the Ministry of Electricity and its minister Kareem Wahid. He, however, seems to blame the Ministry of Oil  for not providing the fuel necessary for the generators, of course we must not forget the Finance Ministry who get blamed for everything these days  for not providing the necessary finances. Strangely enough, it was the Finance Minister’s party leader who initiated the long overdue attack on electricity services, but the comically named Shiltagh Aboud, Governor of Basra, alluded that Al Iraqiya List is to blame for politicising the electricity issue and stirring up trouble by encouraging protests. In the meantime, Karim Wahid (Yes, him again!) calls the protestors Ba’thists and Takfiris as it seems clear to everyone that no reasonable person would protest the lack of electricity in 55 Degrees heat. I guess that explanation also justifies shooting at the protestors and fatally wounding one of them.

It is outrageous that after all these failures in this sector and others, you are hard-pressed to find one Iraqi official who is willing to admit to committing mistakes even in good faith, instead it always seems to be everyone else’s fault.

4 Comments on “The Iraqi Infallibility”

  1. JA June 21, 2010 at 11:07 pm #

    Speaking to relatives in Basra, they tell me they haven’t had any electricity for eight days now and all the generators do is power the ceiling fans, which as I have seen, don’t really help cool.

    It really makes one wonder when people are going to start to take action against those who are meant to serve them. Positions of power come with great responsibility and if they can’t follow up on that, then they need to go and someone who’s honest needs to be put in place.

  2. Ali D June 22, 2010 at 12:23 am #

    You said Karim Wahid referred to protestors as “Ba’thists”? Strange for someone who was involved with the previous regime up to 2003 in the electricity sector, and in the government proper in the 1990s. I guess Maliki let one of those ‘nasty’ Ba’thists to slip through into his party- he should probably step up de-ba’athification. Then again, it seems that Wahid Kareem has done the job himself and resigned (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/22/world/middleeast/22iraq.html)

    “تقلد مناصب عدة في وزارة الكهرباء العراقية في عهد النظام النظام الصدامي المقبور وأهمها منصب مدير عام دائرة الكهرباء/ وزارة الصناعة والمعادن (1995-1996.”


  3. Safwan Mudhafar June 23, 2010 at 7:32 am #

    It’s a ready-made excuse to label any person who criticises the government and their performance as a Baathist. It was done throughout the election campaign, which turned into Anti-Baathist (Government) forces against Baathist (Anyone who opposed the Government) forces. No one spoke about the issues of services and other vital issues which would have exposed some politicians.

    I do wonder if elections were held in the Summer, whether people would be less inclined to vote for the incumbent.

  4. Ali Rashid July 22, 2010 at 12:56 pm #

    Hi Safwan, I tend to agree with you that successive governments have not done a good job in improving Iraqi livelihoods. But there are a couple of points I want to make, for the sake of accuracy. The US$300bn was a number that Ammar al-Hakim quoted, it is incorrect. The total government budget over the years has been US$170bn (still substantial), but over 70% of that goes towards operating costs. The good Sayyid also forgot to mention that the man in charge of the purse strings is his very own Baqir Solagh (aka Bayyan Jabor), who has been the Minister of Finance for 4 years. I would also like to explain to Sayyid Ammar, on the issue of revenue, that it was another of his acolytes, Adil Abdul Mahdi, who controlled the purse when US$1bn went missing in the Shalaan corruption fiasco. I raise this only because Hakim’s motivation is clearly political, rather than a sincere call for improving services for average Iraqis.

    My second point: I completely agree with you on the issue of electricity, it is unacceptable. But while the electricity sector is atrocious, it is not deteriorating. Iraq’s national grid supply is now 15,000mw, double what it was in 2003.


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