Monday, April 19, 2004

Logistics crisis in Iraq - and the negotiations

More and more reports suggest that the Coalition and specifically the US Army and Marines in Iraq are having serious difficulties keeping open the roads. This was no doubt behind the announcement that several major highways would be closed to civilian traffic, despite the rather pathetic attempt to spin this as "repairs". After all, by the time they got to the line about repairs they had already declared that any "civilians that attempt to drive on these roads may be "considered anti-coalition forces"", or to put it another way, shot. (link to Back to Iraq) The New York Times reports above that
"But a senior American official said Saturday that the cutoff in supplies reaching the American occupation authority's headquarters in Saddam Hussein's former Republican Palace in central Baghdad were approaching a critical point. Canteens feeding 2,000 people, civilians as well as military personnel, may soon be forced to serve combat rations in plastic sleeves, known as meals ready to eat."

Horrors! The spooks, spin doctors and staffies of the Green Zone reduced to eating the rations of the troops. No more turkeys, plastic or otherwise, if the main supply route closes... Reuters further reports that bridges have been blown between Baghdad and Hilla on the main road south, and the Washington Post reports that, even paying $700 per trip, Kellogg, Brown and Root are unable to hire Iraqi drivers. This is not good. Perhaps, though, there might be some positives. I wonder what influence the emerging logistics crisis has had on the negotiations outside Fallujah and Najaf - perhaps these have been given a chance due to the army's troubles?

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