Iraq: August 10, 2003

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 Shia Arabs in the south rioted over fuel shortages. Iraqi oil refineries and pumping facilities have not been able to run full time because of electricity shortages. The power problems arise from the looting that took place in April and May, and saw industrial and oil facilities stripped of all equipment. Looters stole machinery and transmission cables, to be sold for scrap, or smuggled into Iran for resale. The smuggling links to Iran have existed for decades, and there is a well developed network of gangs that make it all work. The smuggling gangs went into overdrive when the Saddam government fell, as Saddam had, more or less, regulated the smuggling operations and taken a cut of the proceeds. The smugglers saw their opportunity, and took it. The coalition troops are now cracking down. In particular, the oil and refined fuels smuggling along the coasts of Iraq and Iran is being shut down by coalition naval forces. 

 

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