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Iraq and world financial crisis

Fatih Abdulsalam, Azzaman

October 17, 2008

As the world’s richest countries fret about the current financial crisis, Iraqi leaders boast that their economy has emerged unscathed.

While the world economy is reeling under the weight of this crisis, Iraqi leaders believe they can go to bed without the slightest worry about any repercussions to a country torn by war and suffering from lack of basic economic infrastructure.

How could Iraqi leaders be so confident at a time they do not know when the next oil pipeline will be blown up?

Superpowers like the United States are shifting their priorities and reconsidering their economic strategies. But Iraqi leaders unashamedly declare that "Iraq is strong and strong enough to withstand the current financial crisis."

For God’s sake could you tell us what is it that makes you so strong?

Is it the Iraqi dinar? To buy $1,000 today you will need a sack of dinars.

Is it the Baghdad Stock Exchange? The value of a week-long worth of trading in the so-called Iraqi bourse will be probably not pay for a week-end dinner by a western millionaire.

Is it our political stability and security? The hundreds of thousands of Iraqi troops and police as well as 150,000 U.S. Marines cannot stop the persecution of Iraqi Christians in the city of Mosul.

Is it our robust financial system? Five years of U.S. occupation and administration have not persuaded a single foreign bank to open a branch in Baghdad.

Indeed Iraq’s situation is unique. This is a country where the best rules and standards of capitalism and free market are applied.

Everything floats.

It is not only the currency and the economy that are floating. Thieves, killers, abductors, embezzlers, corrupt officials, terrorists, foreign troops, foreign mercenaries, and you name it, all are free and all can do what they want to do with impunity.

It is a free market, a free country, free for all.

Iraq has special bourses which operate 'smoothly’ and with government blessing regardless of what happens on international markets.

Look at our 'pharmaceutical’ stock exchange. Prices of medicine soar when the government makes it easy for smugglers to take medicines across the borders for sale in neighboring countries.

We do have banks. But I doubt whether any of Iraqi officials in the government or in charge of any of the political factions have ever thought of opening an account in them.

Their accounts are in hard cash stashed away in international banks. Probably the current financial crisis has devoured some of their savings.

For sure the first thing they do is to replenish their foreign accounts and assets. And no one on earth is better equipped and more knowledgeable than our officials on how to 'launder’ oil royalties and grants and loans from international donors.

Now I understand why and how Iraqi economy is so strong that it can easily weather the current financial crisis.





:: Article nr. 48035 sent on 18-oct-2008 04:52 ECT

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Link: www.azzaman.com/english/index.asp?fname=news\2008-10-17\kurd.htm



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