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More expendable people


"I have so much anger," Abbas said outside the music store he runs in the poor neighborhood of Amil, in western Baghdad. When there is no power, there is no music playing in the store, and customers don't come. "I can't work," he said. "I can't support my family. We're dying from the heat. Where are these politicians?"

Abbas's comments reflect a wave of fury that has erupted across this country of 30 million as Iraq's sweltering summer begins. Most people are having to deal with electricity shortages that leave them with no respite from the heat and no water when their household electric pumps shut off.

Seven years after the U.S.-led invasion, Iraqis are taking to the streets to demand basic services they have not received, despite many promises and the expenditure of billions of dollars by the U.S. and Iraqi governments. Their anger has forced the hand of Electricity Minister Karim Wahid, who resigned Monday.

In a news conference the same day, Wahid said the ministry could not keep up with demand and did not have enough money, adding that the situation was out of its control.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki defended his government and Wahid. He blamed Iraqis for consuming too much electricity, squatters for tapping into and overwhelming the electrical grid, and the previous parliament for not approving billions of dollars for infrastructure projects to be undertaken with several foreign firms, forcing the government to take out about $2.1 billion in bonds this year.

I think there's a place for al-Maliki in Versailles. Don't you?

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carissa's picture
Submitted by carissa on

"The problem is that demand has doubled, outstripping even increased supply," U.S. Embassy spokesman Philip Frayne said in an e-mailed statement. He said supply has more than doubled since before the invasion, but he added that citizens' dissatisfaction points up "the need to form a new government quickly so that the government can focus all its attention on providing essential services."

Why has demand doubled? That makes no sense...unless it's all for the Green Zone? IIRC, Baghdad had enough electricity before the war, now they say demand has doubled? What?

carissa's picture
Submitted by carissa on

Electricity Minister: Baghdad Power at Pre-War Level by 2011

In an interview yesterday with The New York Sun, Mr. Hasan said Baghdad residents on average receive 12 hours of power a day from the battered Iraqi electricity grid. But he expected that by 2011, Baghdadis would have 18 hours a day, the average under Saddam Hussein before his regime toppled.

Looks like they are going backwards. From your link:

A complex web of factors lies behind Iraq's power shortages. But one is basic: Demand outruns supply. Iraqis need about 14,000 megawatts of electricity a month, roughly double what the nation can generate. Most people have power in their homes for less than four hours a day.