Union says US forces killed engineer
IRAQI ol workers' unions say US occupation forces have ambushed a group of workers going about their work, and killed an engineer.
The Iraqi Federation of Oil Unions (IFOU) says the attack on a work crew in the Rumala oilfield near Basra was carried out on the morning of Tuesday 18 September. As a result of the attack Chief Engineer Talib Naji Abboud was wounded and taken to hospital where he died on the following evening.
The attack on the workers came only a day after the US Blackwater "security" firm - Iraqis call them mercenaries - massacred civilians in Baghdad's Mansour district. Iraqi officials say 11 people were killed, but unofficial reports speak of up to 50 deaths, men, women and children. Blackwater claim their men were exchanging fire with "insurgents". .
The IFOU has called on the Iraqi government to take action to protect the lives of Iraqi citizens. The Federation held a protest rally at the Southern Oil Company headquarters in Basra this morning, to condemn the murders and the continuing occupation of Iraq.
Although the Iraqi government has asked the US to curb Blackwater, the oil unions complain that Oil Ministerl Hussain Al-Shahristani has remained silent about the latest criminal attack directed at workers who are under his direct remit and who were ambushed while going about their normal business of running the vital industry.
"Indeed, the latest attack seems to be designed to show that the occupation forces will act with impunity, and that there is going to be little distinction between mercenaries and regular US troops. The attack in the oilfields seems also to be designed to push the Iraqi Government to take further harsh and repressive measures against the oil workers at a time when they are resisting the privatization of the industry.
"The murder of Chief Engineer Talib Naji Abboud should also be laid at the door of the oil corporations that are trying to force their way into Iraq and to control its resources at any cost".
US Secretary of State Condeleeza Rice has repeatedly expressed her impatience with the Iraqi parliament over MP's failure to pass through the Hydrocarbon Law permitting foreign companies to move in and exploit Iraq's oil resources. After her visit to Baghdad earlier this year Hoshyar Zebari, Iraq’s foreign minister, said Rice “emphasized a great deal the issue of urgency.” Rice stressed to Iraqi leaders that “patience is not unlimited in the United States and that there’s a great deal of frustration,” Zebari added.
The press and the British government are claiming the law would ensure fair distribution of oil wealth. "By establishing a fair basis for the distribution of revenues the hydrocarbons law could boost confidence among Iraqis in the government of Iraq's national unity credentials and help promote national reconciliation", asserts a letter over Minister Kim Howell's name passed on to me. But those who have studied the bill before Iraqi MPs tell me it says nothing about distribution beyond postponing the issue till later.
Naftana (Our Oil) which acts as a support group for the Iraqi union and has relayed its statements is calling upon the Trade Union and anti-war movements in Britain to condemn this latest crime by occupation forces, and to send protest letters to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
For more information see the IFOU’s website