BAGHDAD (Reuters) Responding to the state of emergency in the wake of the devastation left by Hurricane Katrina, Iraqi officials announced this afternoon that they are offering the United States an oil for food program.
Details of the proposition are still sketchy, although it has emerged from sources within the Iraqi Foreign Ministry, that Iraq would be willing to ship substantial amounts of food, medicine and other emergency material into New Orleans, in return for crude oil deliveries from the Gulf of Mexico.
This latest move follows yesterday's announcement by Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari, that Iraq is considering sending troops into New Orleans to help fight the local insurgence and help stabilize the situation. According to Zerbari, Iraqi troops "would stay just long enough for reconstruction to get underway and for New Orleans residents to elect a new city government".
While fielding question from an emergency room, where he was treated for multiple gunshot wounds after escaping the forty-second attempt on his life , Zebradi let it be known that he saw the liberation of New Orleans as well as the rest of Louisiana as one of his governments top priorities. " We feel that it is our duty to nourish democracy in that part of the world", he concluded.
When told about the Iraqi offers, New Orleans' Mayor Ray Nagin reacted with enthusiasm. He told reporters that " it's great news that at least someone is getting off their ass" and that " I'd take troops from Albania at this point to help get this mess under control".
In contrast, Louisiana Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco reacted cautiously to Iraq's offer. "We appreciate all offers of help with this disaster, as long as everyone realizes that it is not my fault . I had nothing to do any of it. Ask FEMA"
So far, there has been no official reaction either from the State department nor the White house to either of Iraq's two proposals. Inside sources, however, claim, that President Bush has welcomed the move, since it would "get that bloody Mayor - what's his name - off my back".