The region’s Asayesh - the security forces responsible for internal regional security – said that the pipeline had been bombed with TNT explosive and that two meters were damaged. Mubarak denied any responsibility for the attack.
Nonetheless locals connect his name to any attacks on gas pipelines, describing the new electricity supply as “Abdullah power”.
“We invite Mubarak to launch a rocket from Chamchamal city toward the Erbil power plant,” wrote another wag on Facebook. “Maybe we will finally get 24 hours’ worth of electricity.”
All joking aside though, it is possible that this may well be the first manifestation of real violence in the Iraqi Kurdish region, coming after months of protest, financial crisis and locals believing that those in power pay their complaints no heed.
Mubarak told NIQASH that while he was all for demonstrations to show the government how angry locals were, he did not condone the destruction of gas pipelines.
“People are aware of their rights and they will not accept injustice,” he said. “But it is against our principles to resort to this kind of action.”
Latif Fatih Faraj, a local journalist, says that Chamchamal people, who have a reputation as tough fighters, are simply reacting to what they see as the injustice of the situation. “When the power plant was built, they were promised that they would benefit from it,” Faraj explains. “But those promises were not fulfilled. the electricity produced in Chamchamal is simply being sold onto other districts and this angers people.”