Foreign Policy Blogs

Tensions Rise amid Power Failures

In Iraq, it’s too hot to move but tensions are definitely on the rise.

An early summer heat-wave has scorched the Gulf with record temperatures and terminal power-outages are leaving few Iraqis with any way to beat the heat. Now, the electric water pumps most families depend upon to draw water into their homes are down for the count as power availability has fallen to a handful of hours in many regions.  

Seven years after the US-led coalition toppled Saddam’s regime, Iraqis are at their wits end. Anger is now targeted squarely at their government which has failed to provide basic services, despite endless promises and a slowly recovering income for oil exports and billions of American dollars.

Iraqis have not ignored the fact that their political and bureaucratic leadership helms one of the most corrupt governments in the world. Money that ought to be used for the fundamentals – security, electricity, clean water – is routinely skimmed, stashed and wasted by a crooked and apathetic body politics. 

Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki did himself and his political alliance few favors when, on Tuesday, he defended his government and his disgraced Electricity Minister – whose resignation he since accepted – by accusing Iraqis of h”consuming too much electricity, squatters for tapping into and overwhelming the electical grid and the previous parliament for not approving billions of dollars for infrastructure projects to be undertaken with several foreign firms, forcing government to take out about $2.1 billion in bonds this years.”

The fact of the matter is the demand for electricity far outweighs the capacity of the production. In sum, the country requires approximately 14,000 megawatts per month. However, industry will not function, water will not run and people cannot live with this kind of power deficit. Something must be done.  





Reid Smith

Reid Smith has worked as a research associate specializing on U.S. policy in the Middle East and as a political speechwriter. He is currently a doctoral student and graduate associate with the University of Delaware's Department of Political Science and International Relations. He blogs and writes for The American Spectator.