Monday, April 06, 2009

Programming Note

Iraqi Bloggers Central will celebrate its five-year anniversary in just a few weeks. On May 1, 2009, I will write the last blog entry for IBC. The decision to shut down was made several months ago and my co-bloggers have now been notified. I'm going to keep the blog online, primarily as a resource for anyone interested in the history of the Iraqi blogosphere and as a guide for any new bloggers who would like to write about this community. I will say all my farewells and many thank-yous on May 1.

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Iraqi civilians died under Saddam and the Baathists, and today in a series of six car-bombs more died. Who is responsible for such senseless murders? The Baathists? AQI? The Baathists and AQI together again? Iraq Pundit concludes:
Whoever was behind the bombs, the NYT quotes a construction worker who explains it best. The newspaper says Hussein Jawad expressed anger but seemed at a loss to understand a motive behind the bombing, except to say, “The point behind this explosion was sabotage.”
The reason why the Baathists and AQI worked together in the first place was because they both wanted to see the new Iraq fail. The majority of the Sunni Baathists were later flipped because they were either dying in combat against the Americans or because they were being blown up by AQI suicide-bombers who forgot to tell their colleagues that they didn't really care if Shia or Sunni died as long as they were Iraqi. One wonders, though, if there still isn't a hardcore group of Baathists working with the remnants of AQI.

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Many of you, I'm sure, have been wondering what's been going on with Iraq's oil industry. Joel, over at Musings on Iraq, takes a look at Shahristani's record over the past few years at the Oil Ministry. Joel remarks:
With so many different voices, and arguments going on, it is unlikely that there will be any major change in oil policy in the short-term. That will give Minister Shahristani more time to follow his haphazard deals that have failed to raise production or lead to major oil contracts. It would probably take the political intervention of Maliki or the parliament to pass legislation to strip the Oil Ministry of much of its authority to make any real difference. The legislature has been deadlocked over other oil laws however, so even that is questionable.
Shahristani, many of you probably remember, was a scientist who was arrested and tortured by Saddam's goons. From interviews, you can see that he is an intelligent and compassionate man. At the same time, in Joel's assessment, he has not been very effective as Iraq's Oil Minister. Perhaps others have comments to make on this matter.

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