Tuesday, May 13, 2003

Anarchy in Iraq:

  1. Baghdad is actually becoming more dangerous, with more gunfire, the new problem of carjackings, and continued looting ("Looters now work with job-like regularity, disassembling buildings often in full view of U.S. troops"). On Sunday, the Baghdad telecommunications tower was burned and damaged by vandals (possibly as a distraction for car thieves). There is an 11 p. m. curfew, but with no soldiers or police to enforce it, chaos continues into the night. Few food trucks have arrived in Baghdad since the end of the attack, and food aid officials say the food supplies that Iraqis had built up are likely to run out within a matter of weeks (one aid convoy which made it to Baghdad in the past few days was hijacked and the vehicles stolen). Trash has been uncollected for weeks, and the Baghdad bus system is in a shambles (at one bus depot, 45 of the 75 buses have been stolen). The health system continues to get worse. As there are no traffic police, people have stopped obeying the traffic regulations. Many shopkeepers are still too afraid of looters to open their shops, and middle class people in Baghdad are starting to arm themselves with guns for personal protection (so Baghdad is really becoming American!). Weapons markets of stolen guns are appearing all over the city. Baghdad still only has about 40 or 50% of its electricity requirements. Without jobs, and therefore no source of money, people are beginning to suffer from an inability to pay for food.

  2. Iraqi agriculture is on the brink of collapse according to a report being studied by the U. N.'s Food and Agriculture Organisation. Government warehouses that would have served as the main suppliers of seeds, fertilizers and pesticides have been looted, leaving farmers unable to plant. As well, the irrigation pumping system has collapsed. Government warehouses containing food and drugs for poultry have also been looted, destroying the poultry industry. The Americans have appointed as the man in charge of reconstructing Iraqi agriculture a former senior executive of Cargill, the biggest grain exporter in the world. It appears that the new agriculture policy will be to destroy the Iraqi agricultural system, so that the oil moneys can be used to purchase food from American multinational food companies.

  3. Armed gangs of men described as Saddam loyalists (but who knows?) have started to attack the offices and homes of politicians involved in setting up the interim national government in Baghdad.

  4. The U. S.-appointed Health Minister finally resigned due to the pressure from doctors disgusted that he was a prominent member of the Baathist party. The Americans fired the self-appointed police chief for all of Iraq, another Baathist functionary. Up to 1,000 Iraqi civilians arrive each day to file complaints at the Police Academy, and the Americans can do nothing for them as there is no existing system of policing.

  5. The American leaders of the reconstruction, Garner and Bodine, have been so utterly incompetent that they have already been replaced (Garner was the anti-Palestinian, ultra-pro-Israeli executive of a company that makes parts of the munitions that landed on Iraq, and Bodine was the woman who prevented John O'Neill from properly investigating the bombing of the USS Cole, thus potentially stopping O'Neill from preventing the attack on September 11). The Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance was foolishly housed in one of Saddam's palaces, and none of the staff is allowed outside without an armed guard, a fact which may help to explain why they appear to be so clueless. To give some idea of the unbelievable incompetence, Bodine was unaware 24 hours after the fact that American soldiers had killed a crowd of Iraqi protesters in Fallujah.

  6. Heroin, the sale of which was effectively blocked by Saddam, is being sold in Baghdad. Once the CIA arrives, can heroin be far behind?

  7. American military vehicles pushed a car onto the pavement in Baghdad and then opened fire on it, killing the 56-year-old Iraqi man inside. A mechanic who said he witnessed the shooting said: "They shot him without any reason. Why did they shoot him? He didn't do anything. What did he do? We don't know."

  8. American military officials say electric service has been restored to pre-war levels in only 9 of 27 main cities in Iraq, with water back to pre-war levels in 14 of 27 cities.

Americans have been in control of Iraq for more than a month. If anything has changed, it has been for the worse. Eventually the looting will have to stop when there is simply nothing left in Baghdad to steal or burn down.