Business & Economy

Corruption and terrorism leave Iraq without electricity

By Nawar Alrikabi

 Baghdad, May 28 (efe-epa).- Almost 20 years after the United States invasion and the ensuing war that destroyed much of Iraq’s infrastructure and paved the way for further conflict, corruption and terrorism, the country’s precarious electrical network has become a symbol of perpetual crisis.

Access to an electric grid supply for on average less than 15 hours a day has become part of daily life for many Iraqis despite the country producing 4.5 million barrels of oil daily.

“A dilapidated network, older than wars, sieges and quotas, consumed by suburbs and abuses, a $12 billion annual drain on government support. Ripped apart in 1991 by the coalition, terrorist bombs and the Islamic State,” electricity minister Luay Al-Khatteeb said on Twitter in April.

He complained of blackmail and intervention of politicians and economic powers and attacks from “miserable media and irresponsible consumers”.

Iraq’s electricity grid has been one of the main targets of the so-called Islamic State terror group, which declared a caliphate in parts of Iraq and Syria in 2014 that spread to regions close to the capital.

Despite its official defeat in 2017, IS is still active in the country and regularly targets the power grid, plunging parts of Baghdad and Diyala into darkness.

The provinces of Saladin, Ninive, Kirkuk and Anbar are also often the targets of power cuts.

During its most recent attack 10 days ago, 33 high voltage power lines were taken out after an explosion in Kirkuk.

There have also been strikes in Diyala on 27 and 29 April and Baghdad on 28 April.

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