Iraq Awards Iran Contracts, U.S. Sulks
Determined to show just how adolescent they can be, U.S. representatives in Baghdad have expressed dissatisfaction and suspicion over a pair of power plants that Iranian and Chinese companies plan to build in Iraq. One American military official described the contracts this way: “As you know, it’s not always as it appears.”
This, from an occupying power that has funneled billions into the coffers of corporate cronies while managing to provide only a few hours of electricity a day more than four years after invading.
New York Times:
The Iraqi electricity minister, Karim Wahid, said that the Iranian project would be built in Sadr City, a Shiite enclave in Baghdad that is controlled by followers of the anti-American cleric Moktada al-Sadr. He added that Iran had also agreed to provide cheap electricity from its own grid to southern Iraq, and to build a large power plant essentially free of charge in an area between the two southern Shiite holy cities of Karbala and Najaf.
The expansion of ties between Iraq and Iran comes as the United States and Iran clash on nuclear issues and about what American officials have repeatedly said is Iranian support for armed groups in Iraq. American officials have charged that Iranians, through the international military wing known as the Quds Force, are particularly active in support of elite elements of the Mahdi Army, a militia largely controlled by Mr. Sadr.
An American military official in Baghdad said that while he had no specific knowledge of the power plant contracts, any expansion of Iranian interests was a concern for the military here.