Rebuilding In Iraqi South Impeded by Lack of Cooperation
A US military spokesman complained that rebuilding in the Shiite South of Iraq was hampered by a lack of cooperation from the local populace, according to al-Sharq al-Awasat. The US also complained about attacks on Coalition troops in the South, though few of these have caused deaths or injuries in that area of the country. The main complaint was that the US army engineers could hardly get the country back on its feet in the face of very extensive car-jackings, killing, looting, and stripping of wires to resell for their mineral value. There is also very substantial smuggling of petroleum products out of the country. The spokesman seemed to say that part of the problem was the inability of the US to seal the Iraqi borders. Since we are often told that things are “quiet” in the South, this briefing is a good reality check. If quiet means few successful attacks on US troops, then fine. But this description of the situation makes it sound like the Wild West out there in the Iraqi south.