06 August 2007
Iraqi guerrillas target the national grid.
Iraqi guerrillas have managed to pretty much destroy the national electricity grid. Only two power lines running into Baghdad are still operational out of the 17 that should supply the city with power. To make matters worse, many of the provinces have either disconnected themselves from the grid, or are taking more power from it than they should. All this leaves Baghdad with only two hours of electricity a day, which in turn means that the city cannot purify and then deliver the millions of gallons of clean drinking water to its residents that the city needs. All this in 140 degrees of heat...
What is happening is something that other guerrilla movements have done before. Shagging the economy is a basic guerrilla tactic. In Rhodesia the guerrillas targeted the national herd; that is, all the cattle that were owned by individual farmers. Basically, a squad would arrive, kill as many animals as they could in a short a time as possible, and then they invited the locals to a nice BBQ. When everyone had been fed with one or two head of cattle, the remainder were left to rot in the tropical heat.
The effect on the economy for a country that relied on its agricultural sector can only be imagined. However, equally as important was the effect it had on colonialist morale. All those years of work, down the toilet in just one night.
In Iraq, the guerrillas have pretty much made life in the capital city intolerable. The economy cannot survive without electricity and the people cannot live without water. As provinces cut themselves off from Baghdad, any hope that the Americans might have had of uniting Iraq behind the puppet government becomes more and more forlorn. Under circumstances like this, what one writer calls "primary loyalties" will come to the fore. Primary loyalties involve anything but loyalty to the state. The guerrillas can thrive under circumstances like that, but the occupiers cannot.
Not a bad outcome for the expenditure of a few tons of high explosive.