Sunday, October 05, 2003

A land ruled by chaos

Iraq under the US-led occupation is a fearful, lawless and broken place, where murder rates have rocketed, 80% of workers are idle and hospital managers despair at shortages of IV sets and basic antibiotics. Police are seen as thugs and thieves, and the American and British forces as distant rulers, more concerned with protecting their troops than providing security to ordinary Iraqis. The governing council they created is simply irrelevant. A mile away from one of the richest oilfields on earth, the queues at petrol stations stretch for hours. "We completely underestimated how broken this system was," says Andrew Alderson, the financial officer of the British-led administration in Basra.

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