Oil Sabotage Is As Bad As Ever

Oil Sabotage is “As Bad as Ever”: Shahristani
60 Dead in violence

In an interview with Patrick Cockburn of 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.

The USG Open Source Center paraphrases Iraqi news reports for May 17:

‘ 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. . . ‘