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Old 03-16-2003, 07:39 PM   #1
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World Bank Update - Rebuilding Iraq: Profits, Losses, Influences,00.html

Europe Seeks Reconstruction Work in Post-War Iraq

Many Europeans want no part of a war in Iraq, but Europe does want a part in its reconstruction, reports the Wall Street Journal Europe. Even as France, Germany and other European countries continue to thwart US efforts to prepare for a war against Iraq, European diplomats, politicians and businessmen are jockeying to get a share of the spoils if the war does come.
EU Commissioner for External Affairs Chris Patten has said any reconstruction effort should be "international" and coordinated by the UN, even if the UN doesn't sanction a war to begin with. A senior German official has meanwhile said the US should be "magnanimous" in victory, enlisting European partners in the cleanup.

Also reporting, Le Monde (France) notes that Patten told the European Parliament on Wednesday that it would be difficult for the EU to participate in the reconstruction of Iraq if it is attacked without prior approval by the UN. “It will be essential that the EU, like other international aid agencies, have the freedom to maneuver to extend independent and impartial aid,” he is quoted as saying. “A strict separation should be maintained between military action and assistance operations, in order to preserve the so-called ‘humanitarian space.’ This objective will be much easier if the UN sees its coordinating role recognized very early on… It will be much more difficult for the EU to cooperate fully and with important means in the long-term reconstruction process if events unfold without appropriate cover of the UN and if member states remain divided.”

The WSJE notes that even France, which has bitterly opposed US efforts to force a UN Security Council vote for war, wants a part in Iraq's reconstruction. "There is no question that we will be involved" in an aftermath, said one French foreign ministry official. "We have deeper, more substantial and longer-standing ties to the Arab world than they do."

Such statements followed publication of an article in Monday's Wall Street Journal, which revealed that the US is planning to award a prime reconstruction contract valued at up to $900 million to one of a handful of US companies, one of which, Halliburton, is the former employer of US Vice President Dick Cheney. The article, which named four other US companies and no non-US contractors, enraged people throughout Europe, though sometimes for domestic political reasons.

While Patten publicly criticized the discussions between USAID and large US construction companies as "exceptionally maladroit," Friedbert Pfluger, a foreign-policy spokesman for Germany's opposition Christian Democrats, blamed German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder for refusing to prepare for a postwar situation. "Even the UN is working on scenarios," said Mr. Pfluger. "To ignore scenarios means not only denying people help, but also a loss of influence."

Karsten D. Voigt, coordinator for German-US relations in the German foreign ministry, said Germany wouldn't start another dispute with the US, because it has "enough of a dispute already" over the Security Council vote. But he said the US would ultimately have to include other nations in a reconstruction effort. "The Americans will discover that the participation of other partners and the UN in stabilizing Iraq is useful also for America," he said.

Also reporting, Le Figaro (France) says Europeans are convinced that the US will turn to them and the rest of the international community towards the end of their expected military campaign, not only to reconstruct and maintain cohesion in Iraq but also to deal with the shockwaves the operation is likely to produce throughout the Middle East. “When it comes to re-establishing peace, the UN will be indispensable,” French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin is quoted as saying.

The EU, for its part, is still treating any discussion of reconstruction as "hypothetical," and prefers to talk about humanitarian aid, the WSJE notes. A spokesman for the European Commission said Thursday that it has already set aside €15 million to that end, and is prepared to tap a reserve fund. "We have the money, we have the mechanisms," said Diego de Ojeda, a commission spokesman.

Meanwhile, the Financial Times reports that British International Development Secretary Clare Short on Thursday warned that the international community was ill-prepared for dealing effectively with the "serious risk" of a humanitarian crisis arising out of a war in Iraq. Short—thought to be on the brink of resignation from the cabinet—said the US lacked "ground experience" in Iraqi humanitarian work, and questioned the "optimistic assumptions" about how quickly the UN and NGOs might be able to engage in post-conflict work.

"My assessment of the overall level of preparedness of the international community to cope with the humanitarian challenges which might lie ahead in Iraq is that it is limited, and this involves serious risk," Short said. While avoiding further criticism on the possibility of armed action without the backing of a second UN resolution, Short made clear her belief that the UN had a critical role to play in minimizing the potential disruption of the oil-for-food program.

But in a stark reference to the "worst-case scenario" of Iraq and the region being seriously destabilized by war, Short said that "no reparation would be enough" to cope with the potential for a prolonged interruption of oil-for-food, the complete collapse of water and sanitation systems, and "the possible use of chemical and biological weapons on the civilian population."

La Tribune (France) notes that according to the UN’s World Food Program, a prolonged conflict would plunge at least five million people in the region into food insecurity. UN agencies such as the UNHCR and the WFP and NGOs including Médecins du monde and Oxfam have been preparing for months to deal with the consequences of a war in Iraq on civilian populations and neighboring countries, the story notes.

The news comes as Bob Herbert writes in the International Herald Tribune that the most vulnerable in any war are children. The children in Iraq are already in sorrowful shape. The last thing in the world they need is another war. More than half the population of Iraq is under the age of 18, and those youngsters are living in an environment that has been poisoned by the Iran-Iraq war, the first Gulf War and long years of debilitating sanctions.

One out of every eight Iraqi children dies before the age of five. One-fourth are born underweight. One-fourth of those who should be in school are not. One-fourth do not have access to safe water. This generational catastrophe is the fault of Saddam Hussein, no question. But those who favor war should at least realize that the terrain to be invaded by the most fearsome military machine in history is populated mostly by children who are already suffering.

Reporting on the likely economic consequences of a military conflict, the Economist notes that South African President Thabo Mbeki has also warned that war in Iraq could damage African economies. He says that donor money is likely to be diverted from Africa to aid post-war Iraq, and that high oil prices may push oil-importers into debt.

Meanwhile, reports AFP, a war in Iraq and years rebuilding the devastated remnants could punch a $1.9 trillion hole in the US economy over a decade, according to top world economists. Even a quick victory risked costing half a trillion dollars by 2010, they said. The total bill in the next eight to 10 years may be far steeper than assumed by most officials, according to the two best respected models—one by a US team and the other by an Australian team.

William Nordhaus, Yale professor and lead author of "War With Iraq: costs, consequences and alternatives," has produced models for two scenarios: a short war and a long war, which would cost from $100 billion to $1.9 trillion over the next decade. The $1.9 trillion bill breaks down as follows: $140 billion in military costs; $500 billion for peacekeeping; $105 billion in reconstruction; $10 billion in aid; $778 billion in the impact from higher oil markets; and $391 billion for the economic shock.

And even that bill does not assume a nightmare scenario. "It is a scenario where lots of things go wrong. It is not the worst possible scenario, it does not assume weapons of mass destruction, it does not assume big terrorist actions, it does not assume wider war in the region," Nordhaus is quoted as saying.

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Old 03-16-2003, 10:10 PM   #2
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Ouch. How depressing.

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Old 03-17-2003, 03:33 AM   #3
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alea jacta est
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Old 03-17-2003, 05:59 PM   #4
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Bush Plan for Iraq Reconstruction Bypasses UN Agencies

The US administration's audacious plan to rebuild Iraq envisions a sweeping overhaul of Iraqi society within a year of a war's end, but leaves much of the work to private US companies, reports the Wall Street Journal. The plan, as detailed in more than 100 pages of confidential contract documents, would sideline UN development agencies and other multilateral organizations that have long directed reconstruction efforts in places such as Afghanistan and Kosovo, says the story. The plan also would leave big NGOs largely in the lurch: with more than $1.5 billion in Iraq work being offered to private US companies under the plan, just $50 million is so far earmarked for a small number of groups such as CARE and Save the Children.
Washington is under international pressure to broaden a postwar rebuilding effort, even as it continues to do battle with traditional allies over the merits of launching a war on Iraq. The administration recently signalled it may seek down the road to give the UN and other countries a larger role. US President George W. Bush, after a one-hour summit in the Azores Islands, said on Sunday that if it comes to war he plans to "quickly seek new Security Council resolutions to encourage broad participation in the process of helping the Iraqi people to build a free Iraq."

But UN officials said they still have no clear indication how the administration might involve the international body, especially if many of the large rebuilding tasks are already farmed out to US companies directly answerable to Washington. The US plan as currently laid out would thrust the US to the forefront of nation building, an endeavor Bush disparaged during the 2000 presidential campaign, before Afghanistan and Iraq. Within weeks of a war ending, the administration plans to begin everything from repairing Iraqi roads, schools and hospitals to revamping its financial rules and government payroll system. Agencies such as the US Treasury Department would be deeply involved in overhauling the country's central bank, and some US government officials would serve as "shadow ministers" to oversee Baghdad's bureaucracies.

The White House is expected to ask Congress for as much as $100 billion to wage a war in Iraq and pay for the aftermath. Included in this would be a request for $1.8 billion this year for reconstruction and about $800 million for relief assistance. However, the UNDP estimates that reconstruction alone could cost $10 billion a year over three years.

European officials, and even some prominent Iraqi dissidents, have reacted to the current US plans with disbelief. They charge that efforts to keep the UN and non-US contractors on the sidelines will delay reconstruction in Iraq and stir deeper ill will toward Washington. Some US humanitarian groups charge the Bush administration has downplayed the difficulty of the postwar work in the hopes of scoring some quick public-relations points.

"We don't think the relief and reconstruction needs of the Iraqi people will be adequately met, based on the overly optimistic scenarios we understand the US government is using," says Mary McClymont, head of InterAction, the largest American alliance of NGOs doing overseas relief and development work.

Senior US administration officials say problems in rebuilding Afghanistan—including work on the Kabul-Kandahar-Herat highway, a pivotal project that is proceeding slowly—prove that a multilateral approach only slows postwar assistance. "At least to start, we intend to handle the big jobs ourselves," said one Bush official closely involved in the postwar planning.

US officials say they also want credit for the reconstruction. "The administration's goal is to provide tangible evidence to the people of Iraq that the US will support efforts to bring the country to political security and economic prosperity," says a US contract document for up to $900 million in reconstruction work.

The US postwar plans for Iraq, being directed by the new Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance in the Pentagon, are striking in their scope and intended speed. Critics charge that the schedules - in and out in 12 months—are unrealistic, at best.

Brian Atwood, head of USAID during the Clinton administration, said it may be possible to refurbish many of Iraq's schools in a year, but it will take much longer to train teachers and strengthen the curriculum. "I don't think we have the capacity to do much beyond the superficial on our own in just a year," he said.

"The idea that this is all done in a year ... flies in the face of human history," says Mark Malloch Brown, head of the UNDP. He expects the US will ultimately decide to turn Iraq rebuilding over to international institutions.

The news comes as the Financial Times (3/17) reports that the overthrow of Saddam Hussein will translate into long-term political and economic stability in Iraq only if it is followed by administrative decentralization and the country developing a diverse, robust private sector, according to the Adam Smith Institute. In a report published on Monday, the London-based free-market think-tank says the success of such a transformation will largely depend on the extent that international or second-party forces, including the US and the UK, are committed to guaranteeing an outcome based on the rule of law and the democratic will of the Iraqi people.

The report warns: "Any plan for the transition of Iraq must be as public as possible and must involve as many Iraqis as possible . . . managing expectations will be crucial to ensuring stability, while maximum Iraqi involvement will be crucial to ensuring legitimacy for the process."
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Old 03-17-2003, 07:03 PM   #5
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I hope the press does a good job and tells me how many % of the "big cake" gets to companies who financed the bush-election-campaign i'm just curious
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Old 03-17-2003, 07:33 PM   #6
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This is the most telling artivcle of how post-Sadaam Iraq will be cut up. And guess what Mr. Perle is at the center.

Richard Perle's Lunch With the Saudis
Posted by Lakshmi on March 14, 2003 @ 4:14PM

A New Yorker article on Defense Policy Board chairman and unofficial godfather of the neocon hawks Richard Perle is creating waves inside the beltway. Titled "Lunch With the Chairman," Seymour Hersh's article provides stunning details of a private lunch between Saudi industrialist Harb Saleh al-Zuhair and Perle which took place in France earlier this year. The meeting was brokered by none other than Adnan Khashoggi, the Saudi playboy and arms dealer extraordinaire, best known for his starring role in the Iran-Contra scandal.

While Perle claims the meeting was set up on Zuhair's behest to discuss the future of Iraq, there was a second more important item on the agenda: "to pave the way for Zuhair to put together a group of ten Saudi businessmen who would invest ten million dollars each in Trireme." Perle is a managing partner in Trireme Partners L.P., a venture-capital company whose main business is to invest in companies dealing with homeland security and defense.

What's wrong with this picture? First, there is the serious conflict of interest between Perle's position in Trireme and his affiliation with the DPB, which advises the Pentagon on policy matters. An unnamed DPB member said he was unaware of the Trireme connection: "Seems to me this is at the edge of or off the ethical charts." And at least Kashoggi seems to think there is a direct connection between Perle's financial interests and his hawkish position on Iraq:

As Khashoggi saw it, Trireme's business potential depended on a war in Iraq taking place. "If there is no war," he told me, "why is there a need for security? If there is a war, of course, billions of dollars will have to be spent." He commented, "You Americans blind yourself with your high integrity and your democratic morality against peddling influence, but they were peddling influence."
Then there is the matter of Perle using his influence over the Bush foreign policy (which has mirrored his agenda since 9/11) to secure investment from the Saudis -- whom Perle has vigorously attacked in his public comments, calling for regime change in the country. Prince Bandar bin Sultan, Saudi Ambassador to the United States, told Hersh, "There is a split personality to Perle. Here he is, on the one hand, trying to make a hundred-million-dollar deal, and, on the other hand, there were elements of the appearance of blackmail -- 'If we get in business, he'll back off on Saudi Arabia' -- as I have been informed by participants in the meeting."

So how has Perle responded to Hersh's article? He called him -- you guessed it! -- "a terrorist."

So how came I still don't believe in Bush's rationale for war.
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Old 03-17-2003, 07:54 PM   #7
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Cute article, just checked the sources, merci beaucoup.

So Kashoggi, my old chap, is up and alive in business? Good to know.

Huh... what does Monzer Al Kassar think of this mess, intelligence sources ask me.
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Old 03-17-2003, 09:05 PM   #8
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Talking about destruction and rebuilding, I´m curious about the dead Iraqis...will their lives be rebuilt as well? Maybe as clones?

I´m sick of all of this.

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