Robert Fisk: Oil Ministry protected while others burn


Richard Moore

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Date: Sun, 13 Apr 2003 19:17:13 -0700
To: •••@••.••• (hi list)
From: Tom Atlee <•••@••.•••>
Subject: CII HI - Oil Ministry protected while others burn

Independent, UK

Americans defend two untouchable ministries from the hordes of looters
By Robert Fisk in Baghdad
14 April 2003

Iraq's scavengers have thieved and destroyed what they
have been allowed to loot and burn by the Americans ñ
and a two- hour drive around Baghdad shows clearly what
the US intends to protect. After days of arson and
pillage, here's a short but revealing scorecard. US
troops have sat back and allowed mobs to wreck and then
burn the Ministry of Planning, the Ministry of
Education, the Ministry of Irrigation, the Ministry of
Trade, the Ministry of Industry, the Ministry of
Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Culture and the
Ministry of Information. They did nothing to prevent
looters from destroying priceless treasures of Iraq's
history in the Baghdad Archaeological Museum and in the
museum in the northern city of Mosul, or from looting
three hospitals.

The Americans have, though, put hundreds of troops
inside two Iraqi ministries that remain untouched ñ and
untouchable ñ because tanks and armoured personnel
carriers and Humvees have been placed inside and
outside both institutions. And which ministries proved
to be so important for the Americans? Why, the Ministry
of Interior, of course ñ with its vast wealth of
intelligence information on Iraq ñ and the Ministry of
Oil. The archives and files of Iraq's most valuable
asset ñ its oilfields and, even more important, its
massive reserves ñ are safe and sound, sealed off from
the mobs and looters, and safe to be shared, as
Washington almost certainly intends, with American oil

It casts an interesting reflection on America's
supposed war aims. Anxious to "liberate" Iraq, it
allows its people to destroy the infrastructure of
government as well as the private property of Saddam's
henchmen. Americans insist that the oil ministry is a
vital part of Iraq's inheritance, that the oilfields
are to be held in trust "for the Iraqi people". But is
the Ministry of Trade ñ relit yesterday by an
enterprising arsonist ñ not vital to the future of
Iraq? Are the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of
Irrigation ñ still burning fiercely ñ not of critical
importance to the next government? The Americans could
spare 2,000 soldiers to protect the Kirkuk oilfields
but couldn't even invest 200 to protect the Mosul
museum from attack. US engineers were confidently
predicting that the Kirkuk oilfield will be capable of
pumping again "within weeks".

There was much talk of a "new posture" from the
Americans yesterday. Armoured and infantry patrols
suddenly appeared on the middle-class streets of the
capital, ordering young men hauling fridges, furniture
and television sets to deposit their loot on the
pavement if they could not prove ownership. It was
pitiful. After billions of dollars of government
buildings, computers and archives have been destroyed,
the Americans are stopping teens driving mule-drawn
carts loaded with second-hand chairs.

----------------  article from Washington Post today

"...Some Iraqis, however, question the allocation of
U.S. forces around the capital. They note a whole
company of Marines, along with at least a half-dozen
amphibious assault vehicles, has been assigned to guard
the Ministry of Oil, while many other ministries --
including trade, information, planning, health and
education -- remain unprotected.

"Why just the oil ministry?" Jaf asked. "Is it because
they just want our oil?"

U.S. military officials said the Marines have been
guarding other sensitive installations, but during a
lengthy drive though the capital Saturday, patrols
could be seen in only two wealthy neighborhoods.

Many Iraqis and some of the few Western aid workers in
the capital expressed wonder that the U.S. military was
not more prepared to handle civil disturbances stemming
from Saddam's downfall and evaporation of his
once-pervasive security forces."

Tom Atlee * The Co-Intelligence Institute * PO Box 493 * Eugene, OR 97440 *
Please support our work.  *  Your donations are fully tax-deductible.


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