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Tuesday, October 07, 2003

It was about the oil
But they've even screwed that up. Robert Fisk reports that sabotage of pipelines in northern Iraq has slowed the flow of oil out of the country to about a fourth of what it was before the war.

L. Paul Bremer, the U.S. administrator here, is "sexing up" the figures to a point where even the oilmen are shaking their heads. Take Kirkuk. Only when the television cameras capture a blown pipe, flames billowing from its wounds, do the occupation powers report sabotage.

This they did, for example, on Aug. 18. But the same Turkish pipeline has been hit before and since. It was blown up again on Sept. 17 and four times again the following day. U.S. patrols and helicopters now move along the pipeline but, in the huge ravines and tribal areas through which it passes, long sections are indefensible.