Electricity Riots in Najaf
Amara Council Dissolved
Al-Zaman: For the second straight day on Sunday, angry crowds attacked the Electricity Office in downtown Najaf, protesting interruptions in the electricity supply that stretched to as many as 18 hours straight in recent days. The lack of electricity hurts local industry and agriculture, and leaves the population without air conditioning or fans at a time when highs are 50 C./ 122 F.
Employees fled from the Electricity Office in fear of their lives, and were protected from attack by the Mahdi Army militiamen of Muqtada al-Sadr, who still patrol the Old City. (The role of the Sadrist militia in providing law and order (albeit of an often somewhat fascist coloration) in the past two months has been noted by Awadh al-Taie and Aqil Jabbar.)
One of the protesters said that the electricity situation was something people could no longer remain silent about.
Protesters and the members of the provincial council of Amara, who had been at loggerheads, have agreed that the council would be suspended temporarily. Thousands of followers of Muqtada al-Sadr, members of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, and other religious Shiites protested Sunday in front of the governor’s office, demanding the election of a new provincial council. The Amara provincial council has been cooperating with the US and the British, even though many of its members say they follow Muqtada al-Sadr.
In Ninevah province, where a new governor was “elected” last week, 8 members of the Provincial Council have resigned in protest.
These signs of continued civil instability in Iraq, which in many respects are more telling than the daily bombings, do not appear to be being reported in the American press any longer.