Thursday, August 14, 2003

Bad times in Basra

From various bulletin boards..

Firstly(NY Times):"In Basra, drivers were lining up at gasoline stations today after coalition forces brought in enough fuel to fill 550,000 cars, a supply that should last five days, the officials said.
Power cuts that officials said were brought on by looting of gasoline and sabotage of electricity lines prompted two days of riots in the city. Other factors behind the shortages include the dilapidated and obsolete condition of the refineries, officials said.

In the past two days residents lined up for several miles at gasoline stations and tried to cope with 122-degree temperatures and high humidity, a British official said today. Power stations had been running on standby generators.
The effort to keep the power stations going was continuing, a British spokeswoman in Basra, Squadron Leader Lynda Sawers of the Royal Air Force, said in a telephone interview.
The fuel shortages caused power failures at hospitals and harmed aid efforts, American officials have said.

The fuel arrived today by ship at the port of Az Zubayhr and road tankers that made their way to Basra were escorted by a convoy of British soldiers, Squadron Leader Sawers said.
In addition, a convoy of 25 road tankers was escorted by American soldiers from Kuwait, British officials said, and these are destined for towns and provinces throughout southeast Iraq.
Maj. Charlie Mayo, a British spokesman, said: "Coalition forces are determined to to everything we can to ensure oil reaches the power stations and that petrol reaches cars. We are also sending soldiers out to petrol stations to ensure that distribution takes place.
Major Mayo also said that coalition forces are stepping up efforts to provide security to power lines and to support local Iraqi contractors rebuilding the broken infrastructure."

And: "Secondly, it's much calmer here now - the youth are waving again, rather than chucking things. Still a few nasty incidents, but it's a big city, and there are weapons everywhere, and it's bloody hot, so I don't see that as being unusual. Not nice, but to be expected (Imagine London or Brum if everyone had an AK - or do they already?)....

Back to the reconstruction. There is a lot of specialist skill required, from banking to policing to civil engineering. A Lot of this is done by the 'proper' people (coppers, especially) but lots isn't, and that's where the TA come in. Quite apart from the good work done by the CIMIC teams (largely TA), quite a few guys are being taken out of their TA trades, and used for their Civvy skills. This is how the Marshall Plan worked in Germany after the War, and it is going well here too. Humble beginnings, but I think most of us here are therefore doing a bit more for this God-forsaken country this way than by carrying out our mobilised roles."

Very interesting from a policy standpoint.

But on the other hand look at this...

"Yesterday we had widespread riots in the City. At our location in (DELETED) we are colocated with (DELETED), who are responsible for (DELETED). Yesterday (DELETED) guys pulling 18 hour duties. Some of the guys in the riots were on the "Base Lines " = riot squads for 4 or 5 hours in temps over 45* C.

At one stage when the rioters got to the (DELETED) front gate all the uniformed staff in our building were formed up into 2 extra sections to reinforce (DELETED) Coy and stood outside the gate in full kit (shields and sticks) to a hail of bricks and burning tyres for a couple of hours. At one stage we had 2 x majors, 2 Sgt Majors and allied troops on the line. Visions of the film Zulu were appropriate.

Today was a bit quiter but still lots of trouble. We have had a complete ban on on movement for most of the last 2 days.

The combination of all the security problems and the ban on movement makes sorting the problems very difficult, as the staff in CPA who need to be dealing with the local ministries can't get out.

We have run out of beer in the building.

There isn't really any good news."

No comments:

kostenloser Counter