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The ban of war-opposing countries from the Iraqi reconstruction contracts has been all over today. Here are a few links:
A few comments… I disagree with the move, however, this is not unexpected and honestly isn’t something that is going to be a huge deal. By itself, I would probably agree with the move. After all, the US taxpayers are the ones footing the bill for this so why shouldn’t US companies get the contracts (although it should definitely be Iraqi companies getting the majority.) But you can’t look at this in isolation.
It doesn’t sit right because this is the message being sent: “You can’t benefit from any of the contracts because you didn’t participate in the war.” However, it was only recently that the US went to these same war-opposing countries and said “You didn’t support the war, but you are now expected to fork over cash and troops to help in the reconstruction.” And they exerted extreme political pressure to drive this message home. Hypocritical, Non?
On top of this, some (most?) of the countries being banned had already offered cash for the reconstruction effort. A bit of a slap in the face.
So overall, I don’t think there are any immediate repercusions of this move, but just continues the bad foreign relations policies at a time when some returned goodwill would probably go a long way.
What is more interesting, though, is a look at the US companies that had been offered contracts for reconstruction even before the war began:
Aside from the obvious political palm greasing involved in these contracts, it probably would have seemed like a good idea to begin this planning so early. However, it was apparently much more important to ensure big-money contracts for their friends than to actually create a viable post-war plans for the civilians of Iraq.