RANIA MASRI ON WAR PROFITEERING IN IRAQ12/11/03
Masri's articles include "Reconstructing or Deconstructing Iraq?" She said today: "Wolfowitz's decree yesterday forces us all to ask the question again: Are these reconstruction contracts for the benefit of Iraq, or are they political rewards, handed out to 'friends'? Is the reconstruction of Iraq the main objective at all? Weeks into the occupation of Iraq, while the Iraqi infrastructure was still in ruins, Paul Bremer removed all tariffs and trade restrictions -- thus directly devastating the Iraqi textile and poultry industries. Bremer has also imposed a 15 percent flat tax, and allowed 100 percent foreign ownership of (almost all) Iraqi industries and 100 percent removal of profits out of Iraq 'without delay.' These economic structural changes, that are being imposed on the Iraqi population in violation of international law (namely, the Hague Regulation of the 1949 Geneva Conventions), reveal -- as did Wolfowitz's announcement -- that real reconstruction of Iraq is not the objective; transforming the Iraqi economy for foreign ownership and foreign plunder is the main goal." Masri is co-director of the Campaign to Stop the War Profiteers and End the Corporate Invasion of Iraq at the Institute for Southern Studies.