U.S. Stealing Billions from Iraq

July 10, 2004

Newly released reports show that U.S. officials stole billions of dollars of Iraq's oil money, and that up to 25 percent of its oil revenue continues to be illegally smuggled out of the country.

According to the "Open Society Institute's Iraq Revenue Watch," only $10 billion remains from nearly $20 billion collected by the Iraq Development Fund, a body created by the United Nations in 2003 to collect Iraq's oil revenue previously held by Saddam Hussein and the U.N.'s Oil-For-Food Program. The fund was designed to be spent for the interests of the Iraqi people, and was to be independently audited. Instead, the report says, the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) led by Paul Bremer "paved the way for corruption and waste" and went on "a last-minute spending spree" in early June providing cash give-aways to U.S. corporations.

Another June 2004 report ("Fuelling suspicion: the coalition and Iraq's oil billions") by a British humanitarian group, "Christian Aid," states that "for the entire year that it has been in power in Iraq, it has been impossible to tell with any accuracy what the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) has done with some $20 billion of Iraq's own money....this failure puts the CPA in flagrant breach of the UN resolution."

The report also condemns the U.S. authorities refusal to publicly account for its spending, saying "with U.S. companies charging up to ten times as much as Iraqi companies, reports of corruption at every level in the contracting process, and with Iraqi unemployment running at more than 50 per cent, Iraqis need to be able to see that their money is being put to its best use. But they cannot."

In addition to out-right theft, the U.S. has created an environment ripe for corruption and fraud, leading to a largescale black-market. Today, the report states, "it is estimated that between 10 per cent and 25 per cent of Iraq's refined oil is being smuggled abroad."

These reports offer further proof that U.S. monopoly capitalists are literally looting and taking over ownership of the Iraqi economy.

People can clearly see that in every way, the war and occupation of Iraq tramples underfoot international law and the sovereignty of countries. It is an imperialist war being waged in opposition to the expressed will of the peoples and governments of the world.