Low-level smuggling is high stakes for local officials

Iraqi authorities have discovered several small-scale smuggling rackets in and around Basra over the past year.
Low-level smuggling is high stakes for local officials
The South Oil Police discover a hose illegally connected to a pipeline in northern Basra during a patrol on July 5, 2018. (Source: South Oil Police media office)

BASRA - Basra security forces recently busted two smuggling operations in Zubair - a sign that oil and fuel theft remains a lucrative criminal enterprise.

Although no single operation has been large enough to represent a significant drain on Iraqi government revenue, political and security officials say the problem reflects a culture of corruption in which politically connected gangs skim money off the state with impunity.

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