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I would like to make the following on the posting by Mark Galloway, dated 28.02.01: 1- In as much as I understand and share with Mark his "sentiments" regarding the despicable regime in Iraq, I think it is rather unfair and indeed incorrect to deny the intellect of and undermines the Iraqi people when he says " This situation remains until today, so that the average Iraqi has been brought up without any possibility of thinking for himself or taking responsibility in a way which the average Westerner assumes is normal.." As an Iraqi I felt offended by such a statement, which reflects serious lack of knowledge on Mark's part. 2- It seems to me that his information on Iraq is rather outdated at best. At the outbreak of Iran-Iraq war there were more than 800 foreign companies implementing hundreds of development projects. Foreign expatriates working in the country during that decade were estimated between a minimum of 2 millions and a maximum of 4 millions workers. Though that war was a serious setback, development efforts continued at a lower scale and that with war escalating cost had contributed to push the country into the web of indebtedness. Up to the invasion of Kuwait, Iraq was not "isolated" or "kept closed" country by any standard as Mark claims. In fact Iraq have had large number of trade, technical and economic cooperation agreements with most countries: east and west, north and south. That was not accomplishments of the regime and its hegemonic monopoly of political power, but due to the geo-political significance of the country, its economic and resource rich potential and its hard working men and women: teachers, engineers, doctors, scientists, economists, etc. Furthermore, economic realities began to force the regime to change its economic policy. Starting from 1982 with modest liberal policies that ended with the quickest and most radical privatisation programme in the Arab countries, in a comparative sense. Between 1987 and 1990 some 80 SOEs- state owned enterprises- were sold to out to the private sector or converted to mixed-sector companies with private investors have a pivotal position. By the end of 1992 the number of private companies reached a record of 5308 firms capitalized at about $8 billion, with the government having minority interest in 42 companies only. From petrol stations through hospitals to swimming pools all were put for privatisation. I could go further and elaborate more, but I hope at this point I made it clear for Mark that there has been significant developments and serious changes. But! 3- However, in addition to the war of genocide against the Iraqi people which both the regime in Baghdad, UK and USA are taking part in it, the Gulf war, the sanction and the continued bombardment of the country had aborted the development efforts, destroying both the economic infrastructure and the social fabric, and pushed the country many decades back to backwardness and unsustainable indebtedness. 4- Finally, one should be objective at all times and accurate as much as possible. Taking position against the regime in Iraq does not justify, or constitute a base to, undermining the Iraqi people. Being inaccurate extends no help to anti-sanction campaign. Ahmed Jiyad Norway ----- Original Message ----- From: "MarkGalloway" <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: <email@example.com> Sent: Wednesday, February 28, 2001 4:19 PM Subject: Re: Cash component - comment > > > > It is useful to understand how isolated Iraq has been, and not just in the > last 10 years. I made my first visit in 1979, shortly after Saddam had > consolidated power. Until 1978, the files of the company for whom I then > worked were littered with notes on the impossibility of obtaining visas and > making any kind of contact with those in authority. The country had been > kept closed since the revolutions of the 1950s. I found a people dominated > by State organisations. Even those with ostensible authority, such as the > General Manager of the National Insurance Company, had minimal power, and > quite trivial issues could only be decided at Ministerial level. This > situation remains until today, so that the average Iraqi has been brought > up without any possibility of thinking for himself or taking responsibility > in a way which the average Westerner assumes is normal. > > Lifting sanctions and opening trade relations will be only a small > beginning, since trade with Iraqi State importing organisations cannot be > described as "normal". For many years, all imports have been in the hands > of no more than half a dozen State enterprises, primarily: > > the State Trading Enterprise for Foodstuff > the Iraqi Grain Board > the State Enterprise for Steel and Timber > the State Enterprise for Construction Materials > the Southern Oil Company > > It will take a lot more to open the country and persuade the people to take > even the smallest element of power back into their own hands. The one > encouragement I have is that the close Tikriti family members have gained a > taste for big money making and so we may see some glorious capitalist > tendencies in the near future. This may not be quite what everyone has in > mind, but typically it opens the door a fraction for the man in the street > to try his own hand at making business. The process of change then becomes > more difficult to stop. Right now, it does not pay to be ostentatious, even > if you are amongst the small minority who can still live comfortably. > Saddam and his cohorts frequently demand and take things which catch their > fancy, eg a new car. Apparently it is impossible to stop, although on > occasion a limited amount of "compensation" appears - you might get a > Toyota to replace a BMW. > > Registering a private company is a difficult and time consuming affair. > > Seen in this light, sanctions have been a very useful weapon for Saddam to > maintain control. > > Greetings, > > Mark Galloway > > > -- > ----------------------------------------------------------------------- > This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq > For removal from list, email firstname.lastname@example.org > Full details of CASI's various lists can be found on the CASI website: > http://www.casi.org.uk > > -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq For removal from list, email email@example.com Full details of CASI's various lists can be found on the CASI website: http://www.casi.org.uk