There is no evidence to support the American claim that the regime of Saddam Hussein has wired Iraqi oilfields, planning to set them ablaze should the country be invaded by US-led forces, according to the Cyprus-based Middle East Economic Survey.
US military intelligence reports indicated that Iraq is likely to torch its 1,500 oil wells, two thirds of which are located in southern Iraq and the rest in its north. Such a move is hoped by the Iraqis to mislead US precision-guided missiles. The Iraqi government has strongly refuted these allegations as American propaganda.
Unlike the situation in 1990, when the Iraqis set ablaze the Kuwaiti oilfields, the MEES emphasizes that the Iraqi oilfields are currently not only in operation but are also staffed with civilian employees of foreign as well as local companies.
Moreover, United Nations inspectors enjoy free access to Iraq's oilfields, and it is hardly likely that such an immense undertaking as the booby-trapping of hundreds of Iraqi oil wells would have gone unnoticed during their frequent visits, the MEES asserted.
Looking to salvage Iraq's vast oil reserves and prevent a colossal environmental disaster, the Bush administration has reportedly devised a high-priority strategic plan to rapidly seize control of the oil fields. US authorities also contacted firefighting firms who specialize in extinguish burning oil wells. They are expected to follow closely on the heels of the invading forces, reported Houston Chronicle. — (menareport.com)
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