Despite Minister’s Resignation, Iraq Protests Continue

Heat Wave Combines with Government Incompetence to Produce Outrage

120 degree heat is nothing new for Iraqis, but over seven years after the US invasion locals are having a tough time reconciling claims of progress with the government’s inability to provide electricity or even water reliably.

Electricity Minister Karim Waheed announced his resignation yesterday in an attempt to quell the protests. But officials are insisting that it will take “at least two years” before the current electricity problems are solved, a timeline Iraqis have been hearing for several years.

But even if the problem could be solved in another two years, it means little to Iraqis baking in the heat today, or those whose livelihoods are being destroyed for want of reliable electricity. Families have to sleep on their roofs, and even hospitals are having many patients sleep outside to get out of the heat.

The US and Iraqi governments have spent billions of dollars trying to “upgrade” Iraq’s power system, but still most Iraqis aren’t seeing 6 hours of electricity a day and some are saying they’re averaging only about an hour a day in the sweltering summer heat.

With sectarian tensions on the rise and death tolls spiking since the March 7 election, it seems that it is not insurgents or the politically minded who are the most disgusted with the situation anymore, but ordinary Iraqis who are simply not willing to slip back into the 19th century lifestyle for want of a rational way to provide electricity to individuals.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.