The new pattern, they say, shows that the insurgents have a deep understanding of the complex network of pipelines, power cables and reservoirs feeding Baghdad, the Iraqi capital.
If these "insurgents" really are the dead-ender remnants of the Baathist party and the Iraqi military, wouldn't we expect them to have this kind of knowledge? As one Iraqi said,
The overall pattern of the sabotage and its technical savvy suggests the guidance of the very officials who tended to the nation's infrastructure during Saddam Hussein's long reign, current Iraqi officials say.
The only reasonable conclusion, said Aiham Alsammarae, the Iraqi electricity minister, is that the sabotage operation is being led by former members of the ministries themselves, possibly aided by sympathetic holdovers.
Here's a little NYT hyperbole:
A new analysis by some of those officials shows that the choice of targets and the timing of sabotage attacks has evolved over the past several months, shifting from economic targets to become what amounts to a siege of the capital.Well, it may be some form of infrastructure attack, but it doesn't even come close to a "siege." All it does is require a little more planning in protection of such assets. In addition, the Iraqi people, who should already have little or no love for the former officials of the Saddam regime, will, if pushed far enough, hunt these guys down like the dogs they are and administer a little justice, frontier or otherwise. It's a matter of who is running the country.
In a stark illustration of the change, of more than 30 sabotage attacks on the oil infrastructure this year, no reported incident has involved the southern crude oil pipelines that are Iraq's main source of revenue. Instead, the attacks have aimed at gas and oil lines feeding power plants and refineries and providing fuel for transportation around Baghdad and in the north.
Update 2/21/2005; The Fourth Rail has some parallel thoughts about the Sunni mistaken approach to the Iraqi election - which has left them out of power and with no legitimacy:
Like al Qaeda in Iraq, the Sunnis grossly miscalculated the ability of the insurgents and terrorists to derail the January election, and now they fear being kept from exercising their share of power in a new Iraq (which they consciously relinquished). Recognizing that the Iraq people view the election as a legitimate referendum of the will of the Iraqi people, they now want to reenter the process of forming a government. Their defense of their actions, were it not so serious in the encouragement of the murder of Iraqis and Americans, would be considered comical. They want the fruits of the electoral process - power and decision making – without actually participating in said process...That dog won't hunt.