Iraq's Entire Economy is Being Taken Over by Foreign Capital

September 29, 2003

On September 21, the "Governing Council," a handful of so-called ministers appointed by U.S. military authorities to give an "Iraqi face" to U.S. colonial occupation, announced its economic program.

Iraq's entire economy will be put up for sale to foreign capitalists and bankers. For the last 30 years, virtually all Iraqi companies were state-owned and for the last 12 years there has been no foreign ownership. But since occupying the country, the U.S. military - although it has not found any "weapons of mass destruction" - has been quick to see that Iraq's economic infrastructure is turned over to American capitalists. Already, U.S. companies have grabbed contracts worth billions of dollars.

The latest measures call for selling-off all state-owned companies and allowing 100% foreign ownership in all economic sectors except natural resources. In addition, six foreign banks will be permitted to purchase up to 100% of local Iraqi banks over the next 5 years. At the same time, the Finance Minister of the "Governing Council" announced a minimum 15% income tax for all individuals and a special 5% "reconstruction" sales tax on all imports. These monies will go mainly to pay U.S. capitalists for "rebuilding" the country that they destroyed. Under the former Iraqi government there were no income or sales taxes imposed on the people.

The Finance Minister Kamil Mubdir al-Gailani said that the new economic measures "will significantly advance efforts to build a free and open market economy in Iraq. Within moments of the announcement, U.S. Treasury Secretary John Snow praised the new program as "polices that offer real promise" and Joseph Saba, regional director of the World Bank, said "the steps they are taking are major steps forward in terms of creating an environment for investment."

As anyone can see, U.S. imperialism has used and is using its military power to rob the wealth of Iraq and turn the country into a direct U.S. colony - owned lock, stock and barrel by the U.S. capitalists and run by the U.S. military.