20 Dead in Bombings, Gunfights Including GI
Guerrillas set off several bombs in Baghdad on Saturday, targetting policemen. They also bombed Tikrit, Baqubah and Fallujah. Deaths in these bombings and in other gunfights came to at least 20. One American soldier was among those killed. Four bodies of persons killed execution-style showed up in Baghdad streets, probably the victims of sectarian reprisal killings.
Guerrilla attacks and sabotage cost the Iraqi petroleum industry $6.25 billion in lost revenues in 2005. They launched 186 assaults on petroleum facilities, killing 47 engineers & technicians & workers, along with 100 police guarding pipelines and other installations. The guerrillas directed most of the sabotage and attacks at the northern facilities centered at Kirkuk. They took offline some 400,000 barrels a day. Iraq only produced an average of 1.8 million barrels a day in 2005, mostly from the southern Rumaila fields and exported through the southern port of Basra. This amount was down from 2.8 million barrels a day before the 2003 Bush invasion of the country. (The US press continues to give the average production in 2005 as “about 2 million” barrels a day, magically adding an imaginary 200,000 barrels a day to the real average. At $65 a barrel, that is $13 million at day! I’d suggest they stop rounding up in this case.)
Guerrillas are undermining US overtures to Sunni clan leaders in Ramadi and government officials in Anbar province by killing them or their relatives.
As regular readers know, I find the idea that a large coalition of Kurds, Sunnis, Secularists and religious Shiites could be formed that outmaneuvered the United Iraqi Alliance implausible. It would require that secular Kurds dedicated to taking over Kurkuk cooperate with fundamentalist Sunni Arabs only one step away from al-Qaeda (and who object to Kirkuk joining Kurdistan) and with unreconstructed Baathists. That would go over well in Halabja. And then they have to draw in a big bloc of religious Shiites, as well. If all Sunni Arabs and all Kurds voted together with the Allawi list,they’d need some 45 Shiites to defect to have the 2/3s needed to elect a president.[revised 2/19/06].
I can’t imagine in what universe Saleh Mutlak, the Baathist with 11 seats, dreams of marginalizing the religious Shiites (130 seats) and installing Iyad Allawi (with 25 seats) as prime minister! Except as a way of putting pressure on Ibrahim Jaafari to compromise on some issues, I can’t even imagine why anyone takes this talk seriously.
The intrepid Nir Rosen profiles the Jordanian jihadis.