Iraqi electrical restoration foundering

January 26, 2006

A study of the $6 billion Iraqi electrical restoration project finds it's foundering because of poor planning, poor administration and insurgent attacks.

A 14-page investigative report in IEEE Spectrum magazine -- written by the magazine's executive editor, Glenn Zorpette -- is based on a trip late last year to several Iraqi construction sites. It also centers on conversations with scores of people, including Iraqi Minister of Electricity Muhsin Shlash and other key Iraqi and U.S. officials, engineers and workers.

The magazine says the report is the first of its kind to be based on extensive interviews with engineers risking their lives to get Iraq's electrical systems working again in one of the largest and most dangerous reconstruction efforts in history.

Although engineers working for U.S. government contractors are generally prohibited from speaking to reporters, they talked with Zorpette on condition of anonymity.

Zorpette says their sometimes brutally candid comments paint a picture of an effort that was hobbled from the start by bad decisions and administration.

The investigative study is published in the February issue of IEEE Spectrum magazine.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

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