Shatha Khalil *
Who will cancel those decisions ?!
The Federation of Iraqi Industries estimates that about 40,000 projects and more than 80% of the factories are suspended for reasons that we will explain, the most important of which are the decisions of the civil administrator, Paul Bremer, followed by the consequences which destroyed agriculture and industry and have caused material losses to the country.
Criminalization of Bremer’s Laws:
After the US occupation of Iraq in 2003, it was hopeful for the Iraqis, but what happened was completely opposite, as the civil administrator, Paul Bremer, the head of the coalition authority and the civilian governor who came to govern Iraq, the owner of the 100 order, and that no elected government can change those orders, because they are the basis of democracy as they claim!
On the agricultural side, prior to 2003, Iraq had a central seed system, the so-called National Seed Bank, which was developing a seed industry with centralized control and a good variety of all kinds of seeds and wheat in the world. The farmers worked to preserve, share and re-plant seeds. Iraq owned a national seed bank, which meant that it had seeds of thousands of years, that is, since the time of the old farmers, but after 2003, by order of Bremer, Iraq’s scientific research and development institutions were destroyed and completely and deliberately damaged, and now, the seed supply covers only 5% of seed energy according to a study Conducted in 2005.
The following is a summary of Bremer’s most important resolutions:
1. Bremer’s resolution No. (81) , is important, it is deliberate order to destroy the agricultural economy in Iraq, and has a significant impact on Iraq, it is under the name of the patent law and industrial models and confidentiality of the information and integrated circuits and diversity of crops, through legal speech, as provided by the articles and paragraphs of the law (81): Iraqi farmers should not be allowed to use protected seeds of all kinds and any type mentioned in paragraphs (1 and 2) in Article (14) as it stipulates that Iraqi farmers are not allowed to keep the seeds and are not allowed to share them with Others and they are not entitled to re-cultivate the harvested seeds.
The researches indicated that Monsanto is a multi-national company engaged in agricultural biotechnology, the largest producer of seeds (regular and genetically modified), undisputedly, owns (70-100%) of the world’s crop markets.
The company uses seeds for one harvest season, which makes farmers rely on them for grain every year because they are genetically modified and can not be replanted.
So here lies the interest of companies such as Du, a US multinational chemical company and Grain Cargill Corp., their interest is here because they are working on seed re-processing and seed ownership, the only companies that have seed chemicals.
As a matter of fact these companies in need of a lab or a test field. In the grain conglomerate company, there was an agricultural consultant appointed in 2003, and a former official at the US Food and Agriculture Administration (FDA). It is surprising to know the transcontinental companies that work in all fields such as agriculture, oil and mercenaries of wars . this is the benefits of wars.
The desire of these companies to use their domesticated seeds in Iraq exclusively. The aim of these companies is to make Iraq a laboratory and a test field for GM seeds.
The other important point is that these companies gave farmers only 6 varieties of wheat, three of them suitable for pasta production, and Iraq is known to be non-consumer of pasta, if it is already produced as half of the crops will be exported, so who is the beneficiary ? And who will receive the profits?!
Iraq’s food security has been failed; chaos is sweeping Iraq, deliberate destruction of agriculture, no electricity, no watering, water networks lack maintenance, making water contaminated with sewage. Iraq will face a serious drought and increase its food crisis.
Bremer’s decisions (orders) that destroyed the Iraqi economy, in addition to the previous decision no. (81).
2. Resolution No. (39) Which allows the following:
• Privatization of 200 Iraqi state-owned companies.
• Foreign ownership by (100%) of Iraqi companies.
• National treatment of foreign companies.
• Transfers of profits and other funds.
• Exemption from taxes and restrictions.
• Granting ownership licenses for forty (40) years.
Explain the above law : Allow American companies operating in Iraq to own and operate all business, and send all the money to America without the need to invest this money locally to serve the Iraqi economy, there is no need to contract with Iraqi labor, there is no need to ensure any public services, it is very easy to ignore workers ‘s rights , and companies can withdraw their investments at any time.
3. Resolution No. 40, which provides for the transformation of the banking sector in the administration of the State into an overnight market system by allowing foreign banks to enter the Iraqi market and to purchase up to 50% of Iraqi banks.
4. Resolution No. 12 of 2003, renewed in 2004, which provides to suspend all customs duties and import taxes, additional license fees for goods entering or leaving Iraq and all other trade restrictions applicable to such goods.
Explanation of the above law: This leads to a large influx of cheap consumer products that eliminated the national industry and local distributors of the same products, which affects the domestic product in the long term as well.
5. Resolution No. (17): Grant foreign contractors, including private security companies, full immunity from Iraqi laws.
The explanation of the above law: If a third party is harmed by killing a person or causing environmental damage such as dumping toxic chemicals or drinking water poisoning, the injured party can not resort to the Iraqi legal system. The charges must be brought to US courts under the auspices of US laws.
6. Resolution No. (77): The establishment of the Federal Board of Supreme Audit and the nomination of its president and vice-presidents. The Council supervises the inspectors in each ministry with a broad authority to review government contracts and secret auditing programs and describe the regulations and procedures.
7. Resolution No. 57: an Inspector has been appointed inside each Iraqi ministry for this purpose to carry out audits, writing and policies, and has a right to grant access to all offices, materials and employees in ministries.
8. Law No. 30 on Financial Management and Export Prevention.
Iraqi specialists stressed that the decisions of Paul Bremer, head of the Coalition Authority and the former civil governor of Iraq, prevented Iraq from exporting many industrial products and raw materials, surprised of the rising criticism of the Iraqi economy being a unilateral, while the specialists attributed the failure to cancel those unfair decisions till now as many politicians have turned to traders.
Industrial expert Majid al-Hamid says the industrialists insist on the cancellation of Bremer’s decision No. (30) on financial management, noting that the Council has been working on this for more than two years, but reached a deadlock with the government.
Al-Hamid said that Bremer’s decisions restricted the private sector and prevented it from exporting its products and raw materials, surprising that these decisions were not canceled despite the damage caused to the Iraqi economy, stressing that many experts and economists recommended ten years ago the need to cancel the decisions of the Coalition against the Iraqi industry.
He added that Iraq’s civil administrator, Paul Bremer, has encouraged and opened the door to corrupters, whether Iraqi or foreign, contracting with the United States stressing that the CPA is responsible for a large part of the financial and administrative corruption that has occurred in the country over the past years.
The economic adviser to the former prime minister, Mudhher Mohammed Salih, said that the decision of the Coalition Provisional Authority (2003) to prevent the export of Iraqi goods, not only agricultural ones, outside the country, is still in force, noting that the decision prevented Iraq from exporting dozens Of its production goods as a result of concerns that no longer exist.
Salih added that several Gulf countries had requested the import of gravel and cement from Iraq, but Bremer’s decision prevented it. However, exporting such materials could help counter the current economic crisis, and this is a flaw in our current economy being unilateral economy and the suppression of non-oil exports.
In turn, the former Minister of Industry and Minerals, Mohammed Sahib Darraji confirmed, that the hidden parties are working to keep Bremer’s decisions and prevent Iraq from exporting to eliminate Iraqi industry.
Al-Draghi accused Bremer of targeting the industry and turning Iraq into a market for the products of other countries adding that Iraq’s production of cement reached 20 million tons in 2015, while the country’s need was only 17 million tons. It was possible to export surplus, but Bremer’s decision hampered it.
Industry in Iraq after Bremer’s decisions:
The Iraqi industry constitutes about 14% of the national income. It is the best compared to the neighboring countries. However, it witnessed a major setback after 2003 due to the looting of factories and plants, as well as flooding the local market with import and the government neglect.
Since 2003 till today, goods have entered to Iraq from all over the world, with poor specifications, according to industry experts who have confirmed that some countries are exporting fake goods and commodities that affect the environment and health.
And that most of the factories that were suspended from work existed before the US occupation, and that some of them stopped because of the siege, and another part starts to recover its activity after the occupation, but there are about twenty thousand projects stopped because of the need to rehabilitate the mechanisms and the availability of raw materials and technical employment, most of whom left after the occupation as a result of the deterioration of the security situation.
In May of this year 2018, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) clarified that the youth unemployment rate in Iraq exceeded 40%, while the rate of women outside the labor force is close to 85%, which is high compared to international standards in an oil country Such as Iraq.
Economic studies indicate that the deliberate suspension of hundreds of factories and plants, including steel mills, petrochemicals, cement, paper, textiles and thermal industries, Iraq annually imports products worth more than (11) billion dollars due to the suspension of national industries, it would have been possible if the national industry as activated to reduce this figure to less than (4) billion dollars.
According to the official, who preferred not to be named, the cost of rehabilitating six of these factories does not exceed 250 million dollars, for example, the iron and steel factories, which have several branches in different Iraqi provinces, where the technical report showed that they need generators , melting and kneading basins, molds in various forms, as well as production lines and conveyors, stressing that there are countries offering rehabilitation, such as Germany, China and Egypt, with the training of staff and workers and their technical rehabilitation.
According to the Iraqi official, political pressure and financial corruption between government officials and merchants from neighboring countries have hindered the rehabilitation of these factories, because of which Iraq continues to import its needs by 100% indicating that most imported products come from Iran, Turkey, China and Kuwait.
A senior official in the Iraqi government has revealed the involvement of officials, including ministers and deputy ministers and members of the parliament, in files of corruption related to the “deliberate suspension” of Iraqi state-owned factories, over the past years, to ensure the continuation of financial corruption and the destruction of industry for a rich country like Iraq, and benefit from the import deals for them and for their foreign agendas.
Today, decisively all the political and economic decision makers must stand together to abolish Bremer’s unjust decisions against the Iraqi people, and stop the farce of submission and submit to decisions that do not serve the national interest.
Economic Studies Unit
Rawabet Center for Research and Strategic Studies