A Tale of Two Springs

Facilitating peace, development and banking in Mosul, Iraq

Mosul 2012

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I spent a considerable amount of time in Mosul, throughout 2010, trying to secure oil distribution routes north through Mosul. Iraqis refine much of their oil north of Baghdad at a place called Bayji Refinery, among the largest refineries in Iraq. Trucks would then transport the refined oil up to a small city called Hamam al Alil, and then to Mosul, Iraq’s third largest city, for consumption by the people of Mosul and surrounding areas. Terrorists and agents of terror regularly stopped truckers carrying oil along that route to Mosul. At gunpoint, truck drivers would give oil and money to terrorists and this network fueled the insurgency and terror that lingered after much of Iraq pacified. There was an oil pipeline from Bayji north through Hamam al Alil to various points around Mosul. The oil pipeline was not opened because Iraqis were too corrupt to open it. For years we tried, working with local and national Iraqi leadership, trying to open that pipeline or secure the truckers network.

Eighteen months ago, as the December 2011 US military departure approached, all internal reports were that this transport network was going to explode into disaster when we, the Americans, the lone party working to secure the route, left. Between the boiling Kurdish-Arab conflict to the north and east of Mosul and this corrupted oil transport that fueled terror to Mosul’s south, Iraq was set for disaster. That’s what we knew.

Or did we? Remember most of us most of the time were sitting more or less locked in a secured American bubble, on US bases, making key decisions for Iraqis, and the only information we had about the real Iraq was often second or third hand unverified information from individuals who had incentives, usually financial, to tell us what they were telling us. Plans to eliminate the corruption and pacify the oil route varied from giving Iraqi truckers high-tech tools to monitor the quality and quantity of the oil they carried to negotiating between Sunni and Shia Iraqi leaders to secure and open the existing pipeline. Years of dedicated efforts, meetings, video conferences, proposals and reports failed to yield results.

Yesterday Iraqis opened the pipeline. We spent years and millions of US taxpayer dollars supposedly trying to bridge Iraqi differences and resolve this situation for Iraqis, using information about the supposedly corrupt, terror-fueling transport network. Then we left them alone. Three months after our departure, they apparently bridged their differences enough to open it up themselves.


Written by treadingupthetigris

April 5, 2012 at 5:40 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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