The Iraqi oil official kidnapped with four others on Tuesday was in charge of Iraq’s exploration and production, a key role, especially for a Sunni.

Abdel-Jabar al-Wagaa, a deputy minister and top assistant to the oil minister, was taken by a group of men in official uniforms and vehicles.

“This is a very sad story,” former Oil Minister Issam al-Chalabi has told the wires. He said he knew Wagaa, that the 62-year-old has a wife and other family. “He’s been working in the ministry for quite some time now, over 30 years.”

Chalabi said it is another in a series of blows to the ministry’s expertise. “There’s a continuous drain,” he said. Wagaa, named deputy minister in 2004, may be a target because of his position, because he’s a Sunni and not a Shiite Arab, or because of the tribe he hailed from, the Jibouri tribe from Mosul. “Nobody can tell but it could be a combination of all these reasons,” Chalabi said.

“This is really bad,” a U.S. official familiar with Iraq oil issues told UPI on condition of anonymity. “This is a blow to the Oil Ministry. He was one of the few remaining Western-educated technocrats.”

One Comment

  • I wonder what Abdel-Jabar al-Wagaa’s position was on the Iraqi Oil Law benchmark set by the U.S. government? The same benchmark that currently TOPS the list of benchmarks the Iraqi government is supposed to meet. Who were the “men in uniforms and official vehicles” who abducted him? Sorry, but I don’t trust the Bush administration any farther than I could throw them, and I really wouldn’t be surprised if they were behind the abduction. Oil is the reason we are at war, not weapons of mass destruction or any other dribble this administration has spewed out. When one looks at what they are doing to U.S. citizens, would anyone be surprised to find out they were behind these kidnappings? They want to get the Iraqi Oil Law on the books, and anyone who stands in the way of that be damned! If anyone out there can tell me, if they know, what Abdel-Jabar al-Wagaa’s position was on the IOL benchmark, I would appreciate hearing it.

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