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[ This message has been sent to you via the CASI-analysis mailing list ] How bad is Iraq's situation? How much is needed to get back to pre- 1991 infrastructure levels? How likely is a reverse of the brain drain - when loads of Iraqis left a destroyed Iraq suffering under sanctions? How badly off is the new generation - starved of a proper education and healthy upbringing? What happens when the highly educated older generation retire? Who is costing these things? Most of the US reconstruction budget is going on their military costs so that won't do enough. On an anecdotal level, I had a chat with an Iraqi who'd been on the most recent antiwar march. He'd left Iraq in the mid 80's and returned only in 2002 to find a damaged and suffering country. He then visited extensively a couple of months ago and said that the western media have failed to portray the true extent of the damage caused by the 'liberation'. He said that there is a lot of spin reflecting the high stakes for the US eg the 'new' Iraq, various surveys, good news stories, the dangers if the occupiers leave etc. ***** article Iraq is heading for economic meltdown under the weight of its $310 billion international debt and reparations bill. Attempts by the International Monetary Fund to reduce it are insufficient and will block Iraq's long-term reconstruction. Financial meltdown could come despite increased oil revenues. The stark warning comes from Jubilee Iraq, an offshoot of the Jubilee Debt Campaign. It says Iraq owes $135bn in loans dating back to its war against Iran in the 1980s. The country owes another $175bn in reparation payments for damage inflicted on neighbouring countries during its 1990 invasion of Kuwait. 'Even with the best deal rich countries are likely to offer Iraq, its debt will still exceed the country's health and education budget and will devastate a country that is desperately poor and in danger of civil war,' said Justin Alexander of Jubilee Iraq. 'Quite apart from the injustice of requiring Iraqis to pay debts incurred by Saddam it is economically crazy to expect the repayment of so much because it will send the country into a tailspin.' The IMF is due to publish a debt plan for Iraq next month. It is expected to demand widescale privatisation of Iraq's energy industry and public services in return for write-offs. Nick Mathiason, The Observer, March 28 Someone once asked Mahatma Gandhi what he thought of Western civilization. "It would be nice," he replied. Mark Parkinson Bodmin Cornwall _______________________________________ Sent via the CASI-analysis mailing list To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-analysis All postings are archived on CASI's website at http://www.casi.org.uk