Sunday, August 22, 2010

Iraqi Insurgents Picking Up Attacks Upon Power Grid

On August 14, 2010 a bomb went off at the Mosul power station. The explosive cut the gas pipeline that provides fuel for the plant, leading to several areas of Ninewa province losing electricity. This was part of a stepped up campaign by militants in northern Iraq against the country’s power grid. In recent months 18 transmission towers were bombed in Ninewa and Salahaddin, with 14 of them collapsing. The U.S. claims these attacks had minimal impact upon the power supply. That may be because the towers were quickly repaired, electricity was diverted to other routes, or that supply is so spotty to begin with, the loss of a tower had little affect.

Northern Iraq remains one of the most active areas for insurgents. They have been stepping up their attacks in recent months, expanding from their regular operations against Iraqi forces and civilians to include infrastructure. They have been increasingly targeting the oil pipeline to Turkey for example that flows through Salahaddin, Tamim, and Ninewa. The bombing of the Mosul power station, and electricity towers appear to be part of this plan as well. These are all meant to undermine the government by showing the public that they cannot be protected, that the country’s main source of revenue, petroleum, can be threatened, and that power, which is already in short supply, can be cut off. These attacks are still at a very low level, but it is of concern that insurgents are successfully finding new targets.

SOURCES

Aswat al-Iraq, “Sabotage stops power station in Mosul,” 8/14/10

Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, “Quarterly and Semiannual Report to the United States Congress,” 7/30/10

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