** I have a bunch of news for you from the south, some are good and some are bad and I'm going to reverse the rule and start with a good one;
I'd like to announce that internet service had recently reached the small town where I work which is practically in the Iraqi marshes area.
The service was limited in the past few months to the governmental facilities like the hospital and the town hall but now it's available for public use in a neat, small internet cafe' from which I'm posting these news.
The service is convenient and the cafe' looks just like any other one in Baghdad or down town Basra and the cost is even much lower than it is in the big cities
(approximately half the cost).
** The situation in the south is somewhat different from what it's like in the middle parts of Iraq; to be more precise, it's more calm here with the attention of the people directed more towards the upcoming elections.
The people here are eager to register themselves in the voters' lists and every once in a while one could hear some of the folks complaining about not receiving their registration forms till now.
From what I've observed so far I expect that this area, together with many other regions in the Iraqi south will witness the highest rates of participation in the elections.
This is mainly because of the more stable situation when compared with certain other areas in Iraq and also because of the impact of the last fatwa of Ayatollah Sistani
in which he urged Iraqis to vote.
Still, the people need a great deal of electoral education and they need to be informed about what these elections can do for them and how elections will serve their interests in a better way if they voted according to what they need and according to their vision for their future, not because someone told them to do so.
** Yesterday morning I was on my way to central Basra when an oil pipeline suddenly exploded, reducing the export capability by 750 thousand barrels/day as I heard later in the news.
This means that this explosion will cost Iraq something around 30 million $/day and no one knows how long it's going to take to repair the damage.
What pissed me off the most is that I know that area where the pipeline was attacked and I know what kind of people live there; thery're what we call in Iraq (Mi'daan)
and this group occupies the base of the pyramid of the Iraqi society. Of course not because of their ethnic or sectarian origins but mainly because of what they do for living!
The majority of these Mi'daan make money from carjacking, kidnapping people for ransoms, smuggling drugs and weapons and even prostitution. In general they have no moral, religious or social values.
what I can't understand is why the government hasn't done anything to stop those thugs from destroying the country's economy till now!
The main problem is that they inhabit the areas adjacent to the main road between Baghdad and Basra and thus why their crimes affects the whole country in a very bad way.
I can be 100 % positive that those thugs are involved in this attack and similar attacks in the same area in the past because no one would dare to pass through their territories, let alone digging to reach the pipes that are under the ground, placing a bomb and arming it. So it's either they cooperated with outsiders (it's important to mention that this area is close enough to the Iranian borders to allow foreigners to move in) and let them blow up the pipes after receiving the 'price', or they've probably carried out the attack by themselves.
** Yesterday, one of the members of te association of Muslim scholars was assassinated in Mousl.
I've clearly shown my disagreement with this group many times so far.
I don't like them and I frankly I consider them as a part of the terror network that is trying to destroy Iraq but I'm against assassinations and I don't see assassinating people as a good way to solve problems.
We're looking forward to build a democracy where law and only law can rule and no one should try to make a judge of himself and throw out judgments and execution orders here and there.
Anyway, I see this assassination as a message from an unknown group to this association telling them that the violence they're encouraging and the hatred they're provoking could easily turn against them.