Corruption in the Interim Government
“The Planet’s Supreme Kleptocracy”
An informed reader writes:
‘ One aspect of the Iraqi reconstruction which hasn’t received sufficient attention is the effect of placing so many exiles and their families and friends in positions of authority through the CPA’s wholesale substitution of these “friendly” Iraqis in place of Baathist professionals throughout the Iraqi government. A former Jordanian taxi driver now holds a senior position in the Ministry of Finance!
My involvement in Iraq through contracts and contacts over the past year has led me to the sad conclusion that the United States has created the planet’s supreme kleptocracy in record time. The exiles have no legitimatacy among native Iraqis, but have the support of our troops. They are using their appointed positions in the ministries to extort enormous bribes either to finance a rapid return to London and New York or to secure enough finance to buy legitimacy in coming elections. Many contracts being awarded in reconstruction programs are to friends and family who invoice for large staffs of non-existent employees and never deliver anything of value.
The elections themselves may well be rigged by recognising overseas Iraqis as being entitled to vote while disenfranchising large segments of the native population.
I wish I could be less pessimistic, but Iraqis are reporting that the situation is ten times worse now that it was even under the CPA in July. The Iraqi interim government accomplishes nothing unless it lines its own pockets. Professionals who survived under Saddam fear the assassination squads serving the rival exile political wannabes in carrying out their jobs.
Meanwhile an Iraqi friend who was recently in Baghdad sadly reported, “The most lasting contribution of the United States will be hundreds of miles of concrete barriers.” ‘