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The journalist was an informal intelligence gatherer in the neighborhood. Three years earlier I had found thousands of Baathist security files in an abandoned and looted General Security Service office that documented the day-to-day operations of the dictatorship, including orders for executions, arrests, spreading rumors, and countering rumors, as well as lists of snitches and collaborators, and careful records of mosque sermons. They revealed the names of Baathists and those who cooperated secretly with them and the fates of missing men imprisoned under Saddam. At the time I felt that they were Iraqi patrimony and should be handed over to an Iraqi movement. The journalist was associated with the Dawa Party and asked to borrow them. I agreed. I never got them back. I now believe that they were used to compile hit lists for Shia militias in Shaab who targeted former Baathists. The journalist was involved in this.
Stepping Into Iraq
Saudi Arabia Will Protect Sunnis if the U.S. Leaves
By Nawaf Obaid
11/29/06 "Washington Post" -- -- In February 2003, a month before the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, the Saudi foreign minister, Prince Saud al-Faisal, warned President Bush that he would be "solving one problem and creating five more" if he removed Saddam Hussein by force. Had Bush heeded his advice, Iraq would not now be on the brink of full-blown civil war and disintegration.
One hopes he won't make the same mistake again by ignoring the counsel of Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the United States, Prince Turki al-Faisal, who said in a speech last month that "since America came into Iraq uninvited, it should not leave Iraq uninvited." If it does, one of the first consequences will be massive Saudi intervention to stop Iranian-backed Shiite militias from butchering Iraqi Sunnis.
Over the past year, a chorus of voices has called for Saudi Arabia to protect the Sunni community in Iraq and thwart Iranian influence there. Senior Iraqi tribal and religious figures, along with the leaders of Egypt, Jordan and other Arab and Muslim countries, have petitioned the Saudi leadership to provide Iraqi Sunnis with weapons and financial support.
Saddam had used Sunni Islam to legitimize his power, building one large Sunni mosque in each Shia city in the south; these mosques were seized by Shias immediately after the regime collapsed. During the 1990s Saddam also used the donations that Shia pilgrims make to the shrines they visit—totaling millions of dollars a month—to finance his Faith Campaign, which spread Sunni practices in Iraq and even declared official tolerance of Wahhabis for the first time, perhaps because of their deep hatred of Shias. Wahhabism is an austere form of Sunni Islam, dominant in Saudi Arabia, that rejects all other interpretations and views Shias as apostates. Wahhabis had traveled up from Arabia in centuries past and sacked Shia shrines. Now Shias were terrified of a Wahhabi threat. They feared that Wahhabis would poison the food distributed to pilgrims. According to a cleric in Najaf, Sheikh Heidar al Mimar, “There were no Sunnis in Najaf before the 1991 intifada, but Saddam brought Wahhabis to the Shia provinces in order to control the Shia. These Wahhabis were very bad with us, and all Shia were afraid of them.” Again and again I heard Iraq’s Shias refer to all Sunnis as Wahhabis.
these mosques were seized by Shias immediately after the regime collapsed
LONDON, Nov 29 (Reuters) - The present state of Iraq's collapsing oil sector, its economic lifeline, is bleak and its future looks far worse, despairing officials say.
Another damaging oil attack this week, the prospect of British troops handing over the oil city of Basra and virtual civil war have all but crushed hope for Iraqi officials battling to keep exports flowing to world markets.
"One thing is sure. The worst is yet to come," an Iraqi oil industry source said by telephone from Baghdad.
His task is made harder still by gross mismanagement at the oil ministry and chronic underinvestment in the vital sector -- already neglected for decades due to sanctions and wars.
"There is no line of authority at the oil ministry," said an oil official in the capital. "We are crippled. We have the resources and the finances and we are still failing."
With Baghdad in chaos, technocrats fear the oil producing regions in the Shi'ite south and in the north near Kurdistan may seize control of exports and effectively dismember the country that holds the world's third biggest oil reserves.
"Our country may be dismantled -- farewell to central government," the oil source said. "This is the danger."