Years ago, a group of the then prime minister’s closest aides traveled to Amman, Jordan, and rented several suites in one of the city’s most luxurious hotels. The purpose of their visit was to meet with foreign businessmen who sought a lucrative contract for an energy project that would have helped rebuild Iraq’s shattered infrastructure.
Baghdad, like many of Iraq’s cities, remained in chaos and was therefore a very dangerous place for visitors. The capital Amman was a better place than the Iraqi capital, a prerequisite for meetings, and businessmen came to bribe owners and other senior government officials for the contract.
He chaired the meetings (KR), one of the Prime Minister’s advisers. According to one of the businessmen who attended the meetings in Amman, KR’s terms were simple: Those who get the contract will hand over 45 percent of the deal – plus a huge advance payment – to an Iraqi company controlled by officials close to the prime minister. The Iraqi company will, in turn, use the money to pay cash to top politicians – most of them Shiites, but also a few Kurdish officials who need to be approved before building an energy project on their land.
“The Shiites who ran the company knew nothing about the project – they were just people who were eager to be rich, they had nothing to do with technical issues and they did not have the technical expertise: KR was distributing money only. To any profits before five or six years, but politicians were required to be paid in advance. ”
None of the businessmen involved in the meeting was surprised by the extent to which corruption had come. Foreign firms bidding to help rebuild Iraq have often been ordered to make Iraqi officials partners – and sometimes subcontractors – to reach an agreement. US taxpayers sent to arm Iraqi soldiers in the battle against al Qaeda have often faded into Swiss bank accounts. The weapons never arrived, or worse, they eventually become in the hands of America’s enemies. Illegal graft and fraud were widespread and, in fact, helped pave the way for a completely new threat.
The company that won the energy contract in Oman was unable to complete the project, because the land in which it was located was rapidly bypassed by a hasty organization.
The devastating devastation in Iraq remains a constant source of debate. How can the United States spend an estimated $ 1 million? US $ 7 trillion tax, deployed more than 115,000 troops to overthrow Saddam Hussein and rebuild the country, would end up being a failed state that led to the emergence of a new brutal terrorist organization? Was this a failure of military strategy or political will? Did we end the war very soon, or did we have to wait a long time to get out of Iraq? Did not we spend a lot of money on rebuilding the country’s infrastructure, or did our assistance go to the wrong places?
The answer may be much simpler and ultimately more humiliating: the men we put in power in Iraq stole us in our oblivion. If the American money was used properly, and did not eventually make its way into the pockets of our allies, What would not exist.
“The prime minister and his men knew the right to know,” says the businessman who made a presentation of the energy deal. You did not always know who was responsible, but the prime minister and government officials always got percentages of each deal. They had developed an advanced system that made it appear that the agreements were in the context of legitimate contracts and tenders, but all of that was an illegal gain.
Where much of the American money has disappeared. ” It is hard to overestimate the devastating role of corruption in the failure of Iraq and the rise of an advocacy organization According to a report by the Integrity Committee of the Iraqi parliament, the Ministry of Defense spent $ 150 billion on weapons over the past decade, Got only $ 20 billion worth of weapons, many of the equipment he acquired was useless, and the 1970s-era equipment from former Soviet bloc countries whose bills were freed four times their actual value.
By late 2015, informed sources said the Pentagon had handed over a shipment of new weapons to the Iraqi government, including 50mm sniper rifles. It was supposed to be sent to fighters in Anbar province. Instead, corrupt officials in Iraq’s interior and defense ministries sold the weapons to a Dahesh organization that used them to kill Kurdish Peshmerga fighters. “The Kurds still use the equipment we gave them in 2003,” says a former CIA official who spent a lot of time in Iraq.
“They are forced to buy the ammunition and weapons that the US government gives to Baghdad from corrupt Iraqi government officials.” Weapons are not the sole target of corruption. When it comes to the huge amounts of money flowing into Iraq for reconstruction and economic development, officials at every level of government have been more focused on filling their pockets rather than rebuilding their devastated country. Foreign companies seeking business in Iraq often use well-connected intermediaries and bribe senior officials for decades.
In one recent case, many US energy giants, including Whitford and FMC Technologies, shared their profits with the Monaco-based energy sector. Earlier in 2012, Unwail transferred millions of dollars to senior Iraqi officials who awarded contracts to Ona Oil customers, often overpriced, because the government agreed to buy products and services at very high prices. Funds that were supposed to be earmarked for reconstruction were seized by corrupt officials and private companies.
The internal emails show that Una Oil paid its biggest bribe to Iraqi officials named M and Mualem, two senior officials of the then government. Among the other recipients of the well-known bribes of Una Oil (ZG) As the lighthouse in the internal emails, a consultant and oil official.
“Technocrats in key ministries have been replaced by political people working for their parties,” said Eric Gustafson, director of the Center for Education for Peace in Iraq. “There is no competition for government contracts because they go to powerful parties.” The looting of US aid has helped the political class in Iraq to enjoy luxury lifestyles.
A form of corruption, which is relatively recent, is the signing of major contracts with fictitious companies. In 2013, the government signed a $ 6 billion deal with a Swiss firm called Satarim to build and operate a refinery that can process 150,000 barrels of oil per day. But it turned out that Satarim was unable to meet the contract, and was registered in a law firm in the small town of Zug, and the owners of unknown, and the capital available only 450 thousand dollars. When the fraud occurred, the government suspended the contract and launched an investigation. Shortly after, the government quietly reaffirmed the agreement, which included the refinery’s concession to Satmarim for 50 years.
“The refinery will never be built,” said Ahmad Musa Jayyad, a former senior official at the Iraqi National Oil Company, who served as an adviser to the Integrity Commission, the independent agency set up by US officials in 2004. It is an unknown company and does not have the necessary financial resources or logistical expertise.
It is clear that the contract was awarded to Satarim because it established relations with corrupt officials. ” Such corruption is not only illegal, it is a major obstacle to the creation of a stable Iraq, and for many practical purposes Iraq is no longer a unified country. or move to three states united: Shiite regime controls everything from Baghdad to Basra; a Kurdish government in the north; and a Sunni state stationed in Anbar province , Palestine competed in misery.
With the growing organization Daesh to the most dangerous terrorist organization in the world, the Iraqi government pays The price of huge transactions in the provinces with the transfer of money from Baghdad, Free for political parties under Iraqi law to accept unlimited funding from foreign countries.
He says Gustafsson: “There is a great focus on achieving gains against Daesh, which is understandable. But before al-Qaeda was organized, there was al-Qaeda in Iraq. If a starter is eliminated, another group will replace it.
As long as you have corruption and misery on this scale, you will have an environment where terrorism can flourish. “The looting of US aid and contracts has enabled Iraq’s elite to enjoy luxury lifestyles, and neighborhoods such as New York neighborhoods have been protected by armed guards across the country, aristocrats roving the streets Paved with their luxury foreign-made cars and dining in restaurants that compete with those in Western capitals, and corrupt officials and businessmen have transferred huge sums to Jordan, Dubai, Singapore and London. ”
According to the Integrity Commission, The government recently owned a coffin in Lebanon and another $ 14 billion was illegally sent to the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Iran, the United States and various European countries.
Adil Nouri, a member of parliament and the parliamentary Integrity Committee, said 10 former ministers, including defense, oil, interior, transport and trade officials, had committed widespread fraud.
“We have ministers demanding compensation for 900 million dollars,” Nuri said. “Some counterfeit contracts for some ministries worth about $ 1.5 billion.”
Corruption in Iraq transcends sectarian and ethnic boundaries, even though the Shiite majority has reaped the lion’s share of dirty money. The infrastructure of graft has been developed by strengthening the Prime Minister’s control over the Ministries of Defense, Interior and Intelligence, as well as the Electoral Commission, but corruption also extends to the Kurdish north. One of the Kurdish leaders lived in a modest home outside the country before the US invasion in 2003 , Owns a large property in the province of Kurdistan, one of the Sunni leaders divide his time between Baghdad and Amman, where he bought, according to an informed source, huge property of government funds.
“The government is like a cake, every official gets a piece of it,” said Hamid al-Ka’ud, a businessman from Anbar province and a Sunni tribal elder from the area.
What is most shocking about widespread corruption is the way the Iraqi government has dealt brutally with those in integrity institutions who fight fraud and graft, and how the Obama administration has ignored public reprisals.
Nazem Naeem, an employee of the Iraqi Ministry of Commerce, was killed in a car bomb while preparing to hand over documents to the Integrity Commission revealing corruption in the ministry. (Trade Minister Malas Abdul Karim was investigated in connection with the murder, but was soon released.)
Indeed, the Integrity Commission itself has been intimidated since its establishment. Judge Radhi Hamza al-Radi, the first president of the body, received death threats after Maliki’s government pressed him to ease his pursuit of corrupt officials. Rady resigned and fled to the United States, where he was granted asylum in 2008. The
conventional wisdom is that George W. Bush is responsible for the disaster in Iraq, and that Barack Obama has done his best to manage the disaster he inherited. But Bush’s term as commander-in-chief ended five years after the invasion. Obama ran this battle after him and Maliki spent six of his eight years as prime minister under the Obama administration. His successor, current Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, has taken several measures for reform, but has been unable to hold thousands of corrupt officials accountable in government ministries. Indeed, corruption is now firmly established in Iraq, and it will be almost impossible to eliminate it.
A year before Obama’s election, the chief investigator of the Integrity Commission fled to the United States. Like his president Radi Radi, Salam received death threats and killed more than 30 of his co-workers. “Corruption and financial waste are rampant in all corners of the Iraqi government, especially in the Defense Ministry,” he said. “Favoritism, partisan nepotism and lack of financial controls have led to widespread fraud and theft, and billions of US dollars.”
In one of the hundreds of frauds, Salam discovered a fictional company called Al Ain Current, which was controlled by a relative of the defense minister, who was enriched by bribes from US companies that got contracts from the Iraqi government. Among its clients was Generale, based in South Bend, Indiana, which allegedly transferred millions of dollars to the company as part of a contract to supply the Iraqi army with Humvees.
According to the Integrity Commission investigator, AMG provided invoices totaling $ 18.4 million to the Iraqi government for work that did not perform and provided less than 170 of the 520 Hummi vehicles provided for in the contract.
Where did all the money go? According to the investigator, the owner of the company was “a well-known supporter of al-Qaeda” who transferred some funds to Al-Qaeda’s bank accounts in Amman.
The investigator of integrity: ” I am convinced – without a doubt – that American soldiers have died because of this corruption.
Iraq has never received those armored vehicles and al-Qaeda has better weapons than the Iraqi army because of this corruption. ” The company’s owner was never sued and Am-General still denies the charges, and Hillary Clinton, who was seeking to win the election tour at its facilities and praised the institution.
With no sign of reform comes from Washington, the Iraqis went out in demonstrations to the streets in Baghdad.
in the same month , Hillary Clinton has a tour of the MA General company, broke into hundreds of Iraqi green Zone and stormed the parliament building. He called on Muqtada al – Sadr , The Shiite cleric and the opponent of Umm Rca, to the demonstrations in order to do ” the great popular uprising and the great revolution to stop corrupt officials in their place .”
The demonstrations continued throughout the summer. In another protest against corruption and its calamities, Iraqis marched in angry protests after a militant group blew up a car that killed more than 200 people in the Karrada district in July last year.
The attackers stormed a security checkpoint but the guards checked the vehicle with incompetent devices. The devices did not have batteries or electronic components – only a radio antenna. The US and Iraqi governments have long known that these devices are useless.
Iraq’s Defense Ministry has spent at least $ 85 million to buy it from a British man named James McCormick, who is serving a 10-year sentence for fraud.
* About: New Republic The devices did not have batteries or electronic components – only a radio antenna.The US and Iraqi governments have long known that these devices are useless. Iraq’s Defense Ministry has spent at least $ 85 million to buy it from a British man named James McCormick, who is serving a 10-year sentence for fraud. * About: New Republic The devices did not have batteries or electronic components – only a radio antenna. The US and Iraqi governments have long known that these devices are useless. Iraq’s Defense Ministry has spent at least $ 85 million to buy it from a British man named James McCormick, who is serving a 10-year sentence for fraud. * About: New Republic