November 21, 2003

- - Iraq for the, er, um, Iraqis? - -

Excerpts from this Inter Press article, "Contracts Leave Local Business Out" by Peyman Pejman:

U.S. officials have shut Iraqis out of the business of reconstruction contracts, many local businessmen say.

U.S. officials and the contractors working for them favour a few high-profile Iraqi companies they trust, and set excessively high contract standards that most Iraqi companies cannot meet, they say.

U.S. officials have reportedly allowed some companies closely associated with the former regime to win lucrative contracts.

U.S. officials deny most of the charges. They say some of the frustration comes because Iraqis do not understand legal obligations. [Emphasis mine . . . I guess we should ask Richard Perle about "legal obligations" (see previous post)] . . .

Reconstruction contracts in Iraq are awarded through three sources: the U.S. Army, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) headed by Paul Bremer.

USAID contracts are awarded through the Bechtel Corporation. Army contracts are awarded primarily through the Halliburton Corporation which Vice President Richard Cheney headed until he moved to the White House. Some CPA contracts are awarded through Halliburton, but it has also signed some of its own agreements.

The total value of the contracts awarded has not been made public, but sources in Baghdad put the figure above 10 billion dollars.

Be at peace.