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The Iraqi cabinet declared a four-day public holiday this week as temperatures soared with power cuts compounding the problem. The oil export pipeline through Turkey was knocked out of commission by suspected sabotage and theft on the Turkish side of the border.
Iraq’s problems are mounting as it continues to battle determined jihadists just as regional geopolitics in its immediate neighborhood shifted, with Turkey’s decision to start bombing both Kurdish rebel positions in northern Iraq and both Islamic State (IS) and Kurdish strongholds in Syria (see p14).
Back home, the mercury rose to hellishly uncomfortable levels, highlighting the lack of sufficient electricity generation capacity that has plagued successive governments since the end of the US-led invasion of March 2003. An earlier heat wave, which struck during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, led to protests in the southern oil province of Basra, where demonstrators took their frustrations out at the international oil companies (IOCs) developing Iraq’s major oil fields (MEES, 24 July). Temperatures in Baghdad and other parts of Iraq were expected to top 50°C on 30 July with only a modest improvement in subsequent days.
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