Iraq Electric Grid Seized by Militias

Baghdad increasingly in darkness as armed bands horde power
By Heather McPherson,  Newser User
Posted Aug 23, 2007 11:31 AM CDT
Generator salesman Ahmed Muhammad, 22, right, talks with a customer at his shop in central Baghdad, Iraq on Saturday, Aug. 4, 2007. Iraq's electricity grid could collapse any day because of insurgent...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Large swaths of Iraq's power grid have fallen under the control of armed militias, the New York Times reports. The balkanization of power stations worsens an already fragile situation in which insurgents blow up power lines and leave Baghdad without power at the height of a 110-degree summer.

Under Saddam Hussein's regime Baghdad enjoyed nearly continuous power while provinces were starved for electricity. Now the arrangement is reversed: small armed bands control provincial power stations and refuse to share resources. The American reconstruction effort had invested millions in electricity, but militia-controlled stations have turned Iraq's power grid into a network of fiefdoms. (Read more electricity stories.)