Friday, June 30, 2006

Who Is Stealing Basra's Oil Production ?

During the U.N. sanctions on Iraq, it was a well-known fact that Saddam's regime managed to smuggle oil outside Iraq to pay for his luxurious lifestyle. This corrupt practice continues after the collapse of his regime. The new political players in Basra are following in his footsteps. Reuters AlertNet reports:

According to Mohamed al-Ebadi, the prime minister's personal adviser on oil affairs, nearly 1.5 million litres of crude oil, fuel and other petroleum products are smuggled from Basra everyday. "This has delayed dozens of projects and badly impacted the economic situation," said al-Ebadi. "The wasting of this money means more delays of reconstruction projects and infrastructure upgrades."
Brigadier Hakim Naim of the Basra Customs Directorate partly blamed Iran for the problem, saying that Tehran was not doing enough to curb smuggling. "Instead, the Iranian coastguard affords the smugglers protection in Iranian territorial waters," he said. "This is the main obstacle to our work." Naim went on to point out that about 500 oil tankers cross Iraqi waters en route to Iran and Kuwait every week and that "corrupt policemen are paid the equivalent of US $500 for every tanker allowed to pass".


So someone is paying the corrupt policemen and probably the port workers to smuggle oil. Who are these people? Are they Hakim followers? Are they Sadr followers? Are they corrupt oil managers who want to get rich at the expense of the Iraqi people, THEIR PEOPLE?

Before we blame Kuwait or Iran for not doing enough to stop this practice, we need to wonder why those corrupt Iraqis aren't stepping up to think of their fellow Iraqis. This money could buy medicine, improve sewage and water systems among other things. The list is very long for what Iraq needs these days.

Iraq needs too many years until it can rid itself of those corrupt politicians and workers. Until then, Iraq continues to struggle and Iraqi people continue to lose hope in the future.

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