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Iraq's chilling economic statistics


March 18, 1999


Iraq's total GDP has fallen to just $5.7 billion, or $247 per capita,
according to estimates by the well-respected Economist Intelligence Unit
in The Economist's newly published annual supplement "The World in 1999." 

Just prior to the Gulf War, Iraq's GDP was more than ten times
higher--around $60 billion.

Last year the Economist Intelligence Unit estimated Iraqi GDP at $30.4
billion, or $1,300 per capita. This year's figure represents both a
further precipitous decline, and more accurate estimates. 

To put this in perspective, Jordan, Iraq's tiny neighbor has a GDP of $8.6

With an estimated per capita GDP of only $247, Iraq, once one of the most
developed countries in the Middle East, is now poorer than many countries
in sub-saharan Africa.

Just this evening I had the opportunity to attend a talk by former UN
humanitarian relief coordinator for Iraq, Denis Halliday. Halliday noted
that Iraq's recurring annual budget needs for health, food and essential
services, is $12-15 billion. With the Oil-for-Food program, which Halliday
ran for thirteen months, Iraq gets barely $4 billion.

With a total GDP of $5.7 billion Iraq's economy is worth about the same as
four B-1 bombers. It is worth about half of Bill Gates. 

The entire Iraqi economy amounts to just 2% (two percent) of the annual
United States DEFENSE budget of $265 billion. 

The increase in the US defense budget proposed for next year by the
Clinton Administration ($12 billion) is more than twice the entire GDP of

Just exactly what kind of threat can Iraq present? You do the math.

Ali Abunimah

Note: The destruction of Iraq's economy by the sanctions has distinctively
changed the life in Iraq: children are dying in greater numbers; families
are breaking apart; educational systems are crumbling ... For more
information, please refer to the articles by Denis Halliday


Iraq Action Coalition

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