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IRAQ / The Grim Big Picture: Where People Cannot Afford Their Country



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America has sold its soul for black gold

Allen L Roland, Ph.D

A nation of sheep will beget a government of wolves
- Edward R Murrow - 

This illegal war and occupation of Iraq had only one true purpose and that was secure the OIL.

Like a gang of ravenous wolves the Cheney/Bush administration made their intentions clear ~ the only ministry protected initially was the Oil ministry. The first executive order signed by Bush in March 2003 was Executive Order # 13303 ~ which gave full control of Oil revenues to the United States and their partners. Paul Bremer's 100 illegal orders of servitude has economically paralyzed and privatized the country. Here are some of them:

"Order #39 allows for the following:
  1. privatization of Iraq's 200 state-owned enterprises;
  2. 100 percent foreign ownership of Iraqi businesses;
  3. "national treatment" of foreign firms;
  4. unrestricted, tax-free remittance of all profits and other funds; and
  5. 40-year ownership licenses.

Thus, it allows the U.S. corporations operating in Iraq to own every business, do all of the work, and send all of their money home. Nothing needs to be reinvested locally to service the Iraqi economy, no Iraqi need be hired, no public services need be guaranteed, and workers' rights can easily be ignored. And corporations can take out their investments at any time ...
Order #40 turns the banking sector from a state-run to a market-driven system overnight by allowing foreign banks to enter the Iraqi market and to purchase up to 50 percent of Iraqi banks."

As for the oil ~ (Crude Designs: The Rip-Off of Iraq's Oil Wealth:
reveals that current Iraqi oil policy will allocate the development of at least 64% of Iraq’s reserves to foreign oil companies. Iraq has the world’s third largest oil reserves. Figures published in the report for the first time show:

~ "the estimated cost to Iraq over the life of the new oil contracts is $74 to $194 billion, compared with leaving oil development in public hands. These sums represent between two and seven times the current Iraqi state budget."

~ "the contracts would guarantee massive profits to foreign companies, with rates of return of 42% to 162%."

The kinds of contracts that will provide these returns are known as production sharing agreements (PSAs). PSAs have been heavily promoted by the U.S. government and oil majors and have the backing of senior figures in the Iraqi Oil Ministry. Britain has also encouraged Iraq to open its oil fields to foreign investment.

However, PSAs last for 25-40 years, are usually secret, and prevent governments from later altering the terms of the contract.

That's why the Cheney/Bush administration has no intention of pulling out. Once they can claim a pseudo legitimate government ~ the PDA's will be signed and the oil is theirs.

And you wonder why the insurgency (who are really freedom fighters) is growing every day, and you wonder why 80% of the Iraqis want us out ~ and then you realize that this country has not only been illegally attacked and occupied but they have been economically raped by the Cheney/Bush/Rumsfeld neocon cabal which, in turn, has highjacked our Republic and its intrinsic moral values.

And we are the sheep, lulled by a compliant Press, who have beget this government of wolves.

Here's the true picture of what its like to be living in Iraq right now ~ courtesy of Dahl Jamail and Harb Al-Mukhtar.

Allen L Roland



Where People Cannot Afford Their Country

Inter Press Service

Dahr Jamail and Harb Al-Mukhtar

*BAGHDAD, Dec 1 (IPS) - Despite the allocation of billions of dollars of U.S. government money for "reconstruction", Iraqis are struggling to exist amidst soaring prices, unemployment, a devastated infrastructure, and cuts in services.*

Iraqis received a monthly food ration during the Oil for Food programme which was set up to provide relief during the sanctions against Iraq up to the invasion in 2003. The head of each family was allotted monthly food coupons for commodities like sugar, rice, tea, detergents, cooking oil, beans and baby milk.

But the U.S.-backed governments, starting with the Iraqi Governing Council, have failed to consistently deliver the monthly food basket on time, amidst an unemployment rate estimated at close to 70 percent.

Abu Ali, 66, worked until recently as a distributor of the monthly food ration. "The Ministry of Trade used to give us sugar for the people," he said." But not any more. This means we have to buy it from the market at twice the price just to achieve the same quantity. What will poor people do now to get their sugar?"

Abu Mushtaq, a 40 year-old father of five lacks the money to buy products in the market, even after receiving 120,000 Iraqi Dinars (roughly 85 dollars) monthly from the government to offset the shortfall in the food ration.

"Everything has gone up in price so many times," Abu Mushtaq told IPS." Petrol, kerosene, even the price of bread has gone up so many times since the invasion. The invaders only came to Iraq to fill up their own pockets."

The recent influx of government money to offset the untimely delivery of food rations has raised the demand for particular items, along with prices. This trend is disconcerting because the government's record of keeping food supplied is getting worse.

"The Ministry of Trade did not give sugar for the last seven months, nor rice for two months," Abu Ali said. "Nor tea for four months, and no cooking oil for the last three months."

Meanwhile the market price of sugar has risen 25 percent, of rice 80 percent, tea 100 percent and cooking oil 50 percent.

Most homes in Baghdad get on average only three hours of electricity supply per day, and Iraqis who can afford them use small generators. But petrol shortages and rationing continue, with only 40-50 litres allowed per vehicle monthly.

The interim government is considering a five-fold increase in petrol prices early next year.

The situation is being further complicated by attempts by some Iraqis to compensate for the dramatic shifts in their economy. "Many landlords are raising rents two or three times the normal amount," said Abu Ali. "This creates a bad spiral for everyone."

Hope also appears to be in short supply. "Anybody who tells you there are plans for this is a liar," Abu Anas, who works in the Ministry of Trade told IPS. "The government is still interim, so they cannot make plans, and they don't think that is their task. God help the Iraqi people."

Many analysts have blamed the U.S. government squarely for this situation."The 'reconstruction' of Iraq is the largest American-led occupation programme since the Marshall Plan (for reconstruction of Europe after the second world war)," analyst Ed Harriman wrote in the London Review of Books. "But there is a difference: the U.S.. government funded the Marshall Plan whereas (defence secretary) Donald Rumsfeld and (former administrator of Iraq) Paul Bremer have made sure that the reconstruction of Iraq is paid for by the 'liberated' country, by the Iraqis themselves."

According to Harriman's research, 6 billion dollars in assets were left over from the UN Oil for Food programme, and revenue from resumed Iraqi oil exports brought another 10 billion dollars in the year following the invasion.

Nevertheless, while the U.S. Congress voted to spend 18.4 billion dollars of U.S. taxpayers' money in Iraq on 'reconstruction', Harriman says that "by 28 June last year, when Bremer left Baghdad two days early to avoid possible attack on the way to the airport, his CPA (Coalition Provisional Authority) had spent up to 20 billion dollars of Iraqi money, compared to 300 million dollars of U.S. funds."

Allegations of fraud and theft have plagued the occupiers of Iraq from the beginning. Auditors with the U.S. government are reported to have found serious problems.

"The auditors have so far referred more than a hundred contracts, involving billions of dollars paid to American personnel and corporations, for investigation and possible criminal prosecution," writes Harriman.

"They have also discovered that 8.8 billion dollars that passed through the new Iraqi government ministries in Baghdad while Bremer was in charge is unaccounted for, with little prospect of finding out where it went. A further 3.4 billion dollars earmarked by Congress for Iraqi development has since been siphoned off to finance 'security'."

Iraq has oil and dollar wealth, but the people do not see it.

Allen L Roland is a practicing psychotherapist, author and lecturer who also shares a daily political and social commentary on his weblog and website He also guest hosts a monthly national radio show TRUTHTALK on Conscious talk radio

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