Kamran Jebreili / Associated Press
February 27, 2008
An oil tanker, Episkopi, is docked at the Basra oil terminal, in Persian Gulf waters. The city is the key hub for Iraqi oil exports and is plagued by oil smuggling. Parties had been jostling for position ahead of scheduled provincial elections in the fall, and some groups alleged that Maliki's crackdown was intended to strengthen the position of his allies, the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council.