I mean, what a total wildcard development. Oh, wait --
One of southern Iraq's two main oil export pipelines was also severely damaged in a bomb attack, officials said today.
The bombing of the pipeline, seven miles south of Basra, immediately caused oil prices to rise by more than a dollar, though officials gave varying accounts of how supply would be affected.
"This morning, saboteurs blew up the pipeline transporting crude from [the] Zubair 1 [oil plant] by placing bombs beneath it," an oil company official said.
"Crude exports will be greatly affected because this is one of two main pipelines transporting crude to the southern terminals. We will lose about a third of crude exported through Basra."
The official said it would take three days to repair the damage if security could be provided for workers.
But officials in Baghdad were optimistic that the damage could be contained and production returned to normal within a day.
Iraq exported 1.54m barrels of crude per day from Basra in February.
... Disrupt the oil system. This hasn't occurred yet, but it is very likely to occur shortly. The Mahdi army has the ability to shut down, indefinitely, all oil production (a million barrels a day) in southern Iraq. This effort will cost the government tens of millions in revenues for each day of the conflict. It may prove be the most effective means of prematurely terminating Maliki's offensive.
Man, those crazy dirty hippy bloggers, eh?
Go over to John Robb's joint. I also appreciate that he recently posted a precis of his open-source insurgency work, which was sadly lacking in his excellent book.
For those who are fuzzy on the difference between the Da'wa (the Iranian-backed Shiite group we like), your ISCI (the Iranian-backed Shiite group we don't much like but need) and your Sadrists (the Shiite group we don't like), one can always stroll over to Juan Cole.
Also highly recommended, the really old-school boots-on-the-ground investigative journalism of Spencer Ackerman over at the Washington Independent. Spencer does insane things like actually go to Iraq, call military guys to confirm the bullshit levels on government press releases, and generally learns Iraqi acronyms so you don't have to. I enjoy reading him because he lays out his analytical process pretty clearly, and it's a pleasure to watch high-speed gears whirl. Also a dab hand with the EEBE.