Despite claims that occupation forces would rebuild Iraq’s infrastructure, a US army officer admitted last week that electricity supply has fallen well below its level prior to the invasion. Major General Thomas Bostwick reported power plants have a generating capacity of just 3,500 to 3,600 megawatts, far less than the 4,400 figure prior to the fall of Baghdad. Most of the country has just three hours of electricity a day. Electricity supply has fallen since December of last year. Blackouts are a daily reality of occupation life.
Mohammed al-Rawa is one of the residents of Fallujah who has been allowed to return to his home after the US attack on the city at the end of last year. He returned to a refugee camp horrified after he found his home destroyed and 90 percent of his neighbourhood in ruins. “There’s no water,” he says. “There’s no electricity, no-one can live in the city any more.”
Many residents have returned to the destroyed city, but few have chosen to stay. Sheikh Hussein Zubayee turned his local mosque into a refugee camp for them. He says everyone from the camp who has visited Fallujah returned to stay at the camp.
Mohammed al-Dulaymi’s shop and home was destroyed. He says of the forthcoming elections: “I know that the Americans will put whoever they want in there. So, I won’t vote.”
Meanwhile the Bush administration is using its tsunami aid operation to extend its military presence in the region. US Deputy Defence Secretary Paul Wolfowitz has called for restrictions on arms sales to the Indonesian military to be “re-evaluated”. Wolfowitz was speaking last weekend on a visit to Indonesia.
US military aid was halted in 1992 after Indonesian troops occupying East Timor killed protesters. Last week Admiral Thomas Fargo, head of US military’s Pacific command, called for the expansion of joint
US-Indonesian military conferences called to organise aid to be extended to other matters.
Meanwhile US Task Force 536 has moved into the Utapo military base in Thailand, closed since the Vietnam War. The US is carrying out surveys of the strategic Malaccan Straits shipping lane. Following the arrival of US troops providing humanitarian aid in Sri Lanka, Washington is discussing setting up a base at Galle for operations in the Indian Ocean.
RMT leaders must call more action
A possible warning of more repression to come
They’re game, and set to match bosses with escalation